Kelig and Escudero Join Adventure Travel Trade Association Advisory Board

5 January 2011

(SEATTLE) – Dr. Manal S. Kelig, co-founder of Gateway To Egypt, and Fernando Escudero, General Manager of the Tourism Promotion Institute of Salta, Argentina, today were named to the Adventure Travel Trade Association Advisory Board.

Kelig is a co-founder of Gateway To Egypt for Travel Marketing in the Middle East and Great Wonders of Egypt for sustainable travel to Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East. Active in the preservation of Egypt’s ancient and modern cultural heritage, Kelig and her partners are dedicated to developing programs that foster a culture of peace between travelers and locals.

“The region of North Africa and the Middle East holds a wealth of attraction for those seeking adventure, mystique, ancient roots and a variety of authentic experiences,” said Kelig. “Yet, our adventure travel richness needs to be nurtured so it can develop strategically. I hope that together with the ATTA, we can create a stronger network between the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and the global community that leads to the development of stronger sustainable adventure travel markets.”

Engaged in bridging the cultural gap between the Western and Middle Eastern civilizations, Kelig in recent years has conducted voluntary work with United Nations organizations, earned her PhD with the thesis, “Activities of the Foreign Missions in Egypt in the 19th Century”, and currently pursues education in Peace and Conflict studies. She earned her B.A. in Egyptology & Tourism in 1992 from Helwan University of Cairo, and studied as an Egyptologist and guide. Her early studies revealed to her that there was a huge misconception, misunderstanding and stereotyping about the status of women in the Middle East and Islamic countries. She changed course to study the public and political role of women in Egypt during the 19th century and has since become quite involved in various women issues – under the auspices of community development support versus feminist support – at the community, national and international level.

In 1995, Escudero founded Gaucho Trails, the first company in Argentina dedicated exclusively to horseback riding with circuits in different regions in Argentina, such as Salta, Patagonia and the Andes Mountains. In 2003, Gaucho Trails received World Tourism Organization (WTO) recognition for the adventure tour operator's “Exemplary Practices in Ecotourism”. Escudero later co-founded the AAETAV (Argentinean Adventure Travel Trade Association) and served as its first president. He now serves as AAETAV vice president.

In 2005, together with Language Experience, Gaucho Trails launched a sponsorship program of rural schools in Amblayo and Isonza, both small villages located near Salta. Partnering with different international institutions such as The World Learning and Experiment International Living, Gaucho Trails' programs have achieved important improvements in tourism infrastructure and education. In 2007, Fernando served as Secretary for the Riding Quality & Safety Commission (IRAM – SECTUR ARGENTINA) to improve quality management practices in adventure travel companies.

“Maintaining a fresh and diverse group of advisors who bring a wide range of strategic talents and passions to help further the goals and aspirations of the global adventure travel community is essential to our progress,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “Manal and Fernando possess strengths in social issues, education and quality management that will help expand our industry’s understanding and role in these important matters.”

Established in 1990, Seattle-based ATTA is a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, networking, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market. ATTA members include tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, specialty travel agents, guides, accommodations, media and service providers. Host of the annual Adventure Travel World Summit executive trade conferences, the ATTA also makes possible www.Adventure.Travel, the traveler’s hub of physical, cultural and nature-based adventure travel and guide to trusted tour operators.