History of AESATA
At the turn of the 21st century several travel agents association heads in Africa, while meeting at an international forum, mooted the idea of forming a regional association that would bring travel agents together. This was at a time when the travel industry was going through a very turbulent period. One of the issues that stood out at the time was the increased demands by airlines to scrap the commission earned by agents on ticket sales. The forum would be a platform where cross cutting issues affecting travel agents would be addressed and provide solidarity in protecting the rights of travel agents from airlines, suppliers and governmental bodies.
Under the leadership of Mr. Roger Mackie from the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), Saijat Butt from the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Ms. Mary Pool from Tanzania Society of Travel Agents (TASOTA) and Patrick Mwale of Travel Agents Association of Zambia (TAAZ), the Federation of Eastern and Southern Africa Travel Agents (FESATA) was born on 2002 in Malawi.
Mr. Sajjat Butt was elected to steer the Federation as the interim President in the organisation’s first meeting. It was during his time that the Federation constitution, code of conduct and logo were developed and adopted by members. The adoption of the constitution paved way for the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2003. During the AGM, Ms. Mary Pool of Tanzania was elected as the first President of FESATA.
The second AGM of the Federation was hosted by ASATA in Cape Town, South Africa where Ms. Vanya Lessing, the then ASATA Chairperson was elected to head the organisation. Under her leadership, FESATA was formally registered in South Africa as a Non-Profit organisation and ASATA asked to provide the Secretariat services to the newly registered organisation.
In an effort to enhance the visibility of the organisation, FESATA was officially launched in Mauritius during a meeting held in 2005. The founding member countries were Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The 5th AGM was held in Nairobi in the year 2007 where Mr. Patrick Mwale of Zambia was elected president of the Federation. It was around the same time that South Africa pulled out and joined a different global Association.
Their withdrawal significantly slowed down the momentum the Federation had built over the years in unifying members around a common course. Their exit further stalled the secretariat’s activities as ASATA previously hosted the secretariat at their offices. Therefore, there was a need to find a member in the region with adequate infrastructure to accommodate the FESATA secretariat.
It was not until 2011 that an attempt was made to revive the Federation through a meeting hosted by Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) in Nairobi. These attempts would however prove futile as there were lots of domestic issues that were affecting members in their countries, that made it difficult to focus on the regional association.
In 2015, at the behest of the then KATA Chairman Mr. S.G Kaka another meeting was called with the sole agenda of exploring ways to revive the Federation. The meeting that took place on 10 December 2015 saw a total of 9 out of the 13 founding members recommit to the revival of the Federation. The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) was given the responsibility of hosting the Secretariat of the Federation as well as pursuing its registration in Kenya. It was expressly agreed at the meeting that the Federation would strive to avoid the mistakes of the past that had affected its growth.
FESATA was officially re-launched on May 19, 2016 in Nairobi as the Association of Eastern & Southern Africa Travel Agent Associations (AESATA). Mr. Moustafa Khataw was elected President, Mr. S.G Kaka Vice President was placed in charge of air matters while Mr. Ken Banda became the Vice President in charge of Finance. The KATA CEO Mr. Nicanor Sabula was appointed as the Secretary and interim Chief Executive. The Association of Eastern & Southern Africa Travel Agents Association (AESATA) is dedicated to strengthen working relationships between national associations in the region.