Advisory Board 2022 - 2023

The Advisory Board consists of elected and co-opted members of the association and is responsible for the conduct, future growth and strategic vision of the association. The Advisory Board not only represent the geographical spread of the membership but also the specialisms within the African tourism trade.

Each advisor is allocated a portfolio and each member will have an advisor as a point of contact

Who is on the ATTA® Advisory Board?

Nigel Vere Nicoll FRGS Group Managing Director, President & Company Secretary

President from 2018,CEO 2000 - 2017, Board Member Since 1996

Phone: +44 (0)20 7937 4408

A founder member of The African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA®) , Chief Executive for over 20  years, and President since 2018.  An elected Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society since 1992.

As a former MD of Abercrombie & Kent's Hotel & Lodge Division in Kenya, CEO of Tour Operator, Wild Africa Safaris, Head of Marketing Mount Charlotte-Thistle Hotels UK, MD of Travel Agency Universal Travel and Proprietor of two hotels in Scotland, he has extensive experience in hotel management, tour operating & marketing in UK and Africa.

Nigel has been an advisor on tourism and crisis management to Foreign & Commonwealth Office Consular Stakeholder Panel, the FCO Travel Advice Review Group (TARG), and the United Nations WTO Tourism Emergency Response network (TERN).  As African tourism advisor to the Brenthurst Foundation, established by the Oppenheimer family to fund development in Africa, he was appointed International Tourism advisor to the President of Malawi from 2011-2014.

John Corse
John Corse Chairman

ATTA Director 2015/16, ATTA Global Advisory Board Member Since 2019, Managing Director | Serengeti Balloon Safaris

Phone: +255 (0)27 254 8967

John Corse has been elected Chair of ATTA® bringing a wealth of experience in African tourism and commerce. He is currently Managing Director of Serengeti Balloon Safaris, a Director of both Tanzania Association of Tours Operators (TATO) and Responsible Tourism Tanzania, as well as Chairman of Arusha Bicycle Centre, a social enterprise.

Born and brought up in Kenya, he found a natural love of the outdoors, spending most school holidays out and about in the many wilderness areas of the country, often on horseback or by camel. He was educated in the UK and gained a degree in Economics and Agricultural Economics at the University of Exeter. He served 6 years as a British Army office in the UK and further afield, earning a Commendation for Valuable Service whilst on active duty in Bosnia.

Returning to Tanzania in 1998 firstly as Manager of Sand Rivers in the Selous Game Reserve, then as General Manager of Tanzania Tea Packers. He is a founder member of the Aids Business Coalition of Tanzania. He served for 8 years as Managing Director of Nomad Tanzania. In 2015, he joined Fastjet Tanzania, an African low-cost air carrier, becoming General Manager. John has served four years on ATTA® boards as a director in 2015/16 and from 2019 representing Tanzania on the newly formed Global Advisory Board.

He is passionate about African travel, the environment that sustains it and the communities that are its stakeholders. He believes strongly in the principle that tourism transfers wealth to these fragile places and their people, protecting their future and helping to develop their countries. He is a bridge-builder, who likes to encourage a collaborative approach to complex problems.

Nick Aslin 22
Nick Aslin Vice Chair | Southern Africa DMC

Owner | Zambian Ground Handlers

Phone: +260 (0)211 262061

Nick Aslin arrived in Zambia from the UK in 1992, he fell under the guidance of the late and legendary Norman Carr.

After a few years he found himself in love with the African Bush and excited to be running a company of some repute. In 2009, itching for a change of course and recognizing a niche that needed filling, he established Zambian Ground Handlers and quickly started making the destination more available to new markets all around the world.

He enjoys his role as a link between the travel trade and the safari operators and hopes that this will bring benefits to the ATTA® Advisory Board as well as the membership as a whole

Jozef 02.jpg
Jozef Verbruggen EU Buyer

Founder | Untamed Travelling

Phone: +31 (0)487 540 367

Jozef Verbruggen studied topography in Antwerp and Gent. The fascination for travelling and the unknown has brought him to the African continent where in the meantime he visited over 50 destinations and lived and worked in Cameroon for over two years.

In 2001 Jozef founded Untamed Travelling, a private travel designer specialised in high-end bespoke travel experiences. Starting off with two employees focussing on Africa, nowadays over thirty passionate travel experts daily customise journeys providing high quality, extensive knowledge, personal service, small-scale accommodations, professional guidance and unique travel experiences in awe-inspiring surroundings to optimally realise the individual needs of each traveler.

“My time in Africa has been defining for my vision on the strategy and branding of Untamed Travelling. Having lived and worked in Africa still helps me keeping track on our mission statement.”

In 2015 Untamed Travelling was rewarded as ‘Best Supplier of Long-haul Destination’, a prestigious award granted by the Dutch travel trade.

In 2017 Untamed invested in their own destination management office and launched WOLF-DMC in Kigali, Rwanda.

James Haigh
James Haigh International Source Markets

Head of Sales & Marketing | Lemala Camps & Lodges

Phone: +255 (0)27 250 0630

Born and raised in London, and a graduate from University College and King's Colleges, London James arrived in East Africa to teach literature and sports in Nairobi.  James took charge of the Outdoor Education scheme and thanks to contacts in the KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) created a programme that brought his Kenyan students into proximity with the remote parts of Africa.

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, James has spent much of his free time engaged in the struggle for the preservation of environment and wildlife of East Africa. His experiences whilst involved in the complicated translocation of the critically endangered Hirola Antelope and a survey of Grevy’s Zebra in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya allowed James to develop a bond with the proud peoples of this immensely rewarding corner of the continent.  

Having worked as Director of Sales and Marketing for several prestigious international brands James counts himself lucky to have worked with and consider as friends some of the most passionate travel professionals in the world.

James sits on the Travel Advisory Leadership Counsel for JG Blackbook and has been a proud mentor to the Young Travel Professionals in the USA. Participating actively in ATTA as a member of the Advisory Board will be an honour and a privilege.

Tom Moore
Tom Moore UK Buyer

Head of Africa & Indian Ocean | Audley Travel

Phone: +44 (0)1993 838059

After graduating with a degree in International Tourism Management, Tom always knew that the tourism sector was the right industry for him.  Now having worked in the travel industry for 10 years, starting as a sales specialist and working his way up to Head of the Africa programme, he really wants Africa to be accessible to as many people as possible.

Tom’s passion also lies in DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), sitting on the steering group for Audley Travel he has a vision of making the travel industry more inclusive by helping create a more dynamic and diverse work force. 

David Reading
David Reading UK Representation

Director | Talking Stick Global

Phone: +44 (0)1278 661592

I suppose being born and brought up In South Africa, before moving to the UK was always a stepping stone towards me starting my career in sales and marketing representing some incredible lodges, DMC’s and hotels in Africa, Asia, and the Indian Ocean at Talking Stick Marketing and Communications.

My 5 years as a rep helped me solidify my knowledge of the UK market working with tour operators, agents, and tourism boards. Crossing over to the other side I joined a luxury tour operator where I was product manager for Africa and South America for two years gaining valuable insight into the sector we all reply on.

In 2018 I found myself on a one-way Emirates flight to Dubai to join the luxurious leading hotel brand Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. I took up the position of UK and Ireland Leisure Sales Manager for all 9 hotels including the iconic Burj Al Arab.

Following my two years in Dubai, I was persuaded to come back to Talking Stick and run the business. I re-joined in May 2020 and expanded the business into the digital marketing sector with my wife Zoey doing all things Pay per click, social media, SEO, paid social, and email marketing.

Hayley Walls
Hayley Walls Southern Africa Supplier

Director of Sales and Marketing | Matetsi Victoria Falls

Phone: +263 8677 004 779

With over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors, Hayley Walls has a proven track record in travel and tourism marketing and sales strategy and operations, as well as hotel operations.  A strong communicator, Hayley builds solid, long-term strategic relationships with stakeholders at all levels, across all market segments within the dynamic travel and tourism sectors.. Hayley joined the “Matetsi Victoria Falls Family” in August of 2018 and has found her passion and niche in the safari industry. Based out of Cape Town, Hayley says that contributing to a cause much greater than simply putting heads in beds in the form of conservation and community within Zimbabwe has changed the way she approaches many aspects of her life and the future trajectory of her career.

Alice Mwara
Alice Mwaura East Africa DMC

Touring Manager | The Safari and Conservation Company

Phone: + 254 (0) 721 626680

Alice Joined the Kenyan Tourism Industry as a customer service agent in 1996, moving to Horizons Travel and Safaris in 2000 as a cost accountant promoted  to head the accounts department. In 2006 Alice moved to  Base Camp Travel and Explorer as a Chief Accountant in leaving in 2009 to join The Safari And Conservation Company as an Administrative Manager and in 2013 taking on the role of Touring Manager in which she continues today..

Deepesh Gupta
Deepesh Gupta Aviation

Director of Sales | Auric Air Services

Phone: +255699912345

They say, "Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life". I can happily go on record and state “the sector of Aviation as my happy place”.

I joined the exciting travel industry just over a decade ago as a Business Development Manager at Auric Air Services Ltd where today I am proudly serving in the position of Director of Sales.

Sales and Marketing has always been my passion and networking has always been my forte. After all, we are in the business of tourism where effective communication is as instrumental as the experience we strive to provide.

I am happy to be part of the team that has been instrumental in the growth of my company, Auric Air Services Ltd, and building it what it is today.

Over the last decade, through the deep and the shallow, the hard and the soft, the ups and the downs I have learnt a great deal and have come to somewhat understand the “Safari Aviation” sector in the East African Market. 

I am pleased to share that Auric Air Services has been awarded as a Leading Domestic Safari Carrier by World Travel Awards for SIX years in a row: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021. I was proudly awarded with “Tanzania’s Top Chief Commercial Officer 2021 – Top 100 Executives List”

Rob Barber 2
Robert Barber FRGS New Membership

Founder | Golden Africa

Phone: +26 772 691 551

Rob is seventh generation African-born and first cut his teeth in the safari industry in the late nineties in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, close to the seat of his family home, an area he had known well throughout his younger years.

After graduating in the UK with a BA(Hons) in 2003, Rob was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and came to Botswana shortly afterwards. He was immediately taken by the incredible wilderness, people and diversity of the country and soon realised that this was to be his new home.

Nearly twenty years later, Rob is the Founder of Golden Africa, a safari business offering high-end luxury mobile tented camps complemented by a boutique inbound ground-handling service. As Owner/Director of the company and a fully licensed professional guide of Botswana, he continues to work throughout the country, designing, planning and leading curated journeys of distinction.

Rob has spent a lot of time over the past few years developing his links throughout the African travel industry, as well as at both local and central government levels in Botswana. He has been involved in lobbying efforts to help bolster and support the travel industry within Botswana and has been formative in bringing about change in regulations and policies of organisations associated with the Botswana safari industry.

Andrew Ketima
Andrew Kitema East African Supplier

Managing Owner | African Adventure Specialists

Phone: +254733572575

As a Tourism industry expert across the travel, tourism & hospitality sectors and with roots firmly embedded in Tourism industry, I am Immensely passionate of Tourism.With the positions I have previously held as a destination planner with Private safarisPollmans tours and safaris as well as African Eagle EA ltdmy biggest profit has always been Client Satisfaction. As Managing Owner of a leading DMC in Kenya, I am proud to represent a team of 20 of some of the most dedicated travel providers the nature & wildlife experience has. As we undergo the current once in our lifetime shocker, it’s another chapter in our Tourism Book which will teach us how to deal with the worst of the worst scenerios. From where I sit my role would be to happily share the East Africa approach to restarting the Travel Computer all over again.

Rupert FH
Rupert Finch Hatton Europe

European & USA Sales | Nomad Tanzania

Phone: +44 (0)7464 546462

Rupert has been involved in the African tourism industry his whole life and has a hands-on experience working in all aspects of the trade, from tour operator, to camp operator, to DMC. He has a unique perspective that combines decades living and working in East Africa, with a home in the UK, and strong networks throughout Europe and the US.

He has a talent for networking and forging relationships; he has also previously been on the ATTA board for 6 years and served as Chairman for 2 of those years, as well as directorships with two other African tourism businesses. 

Rupert heads up the European and US sales department for Nomad Tanzania

Ash Sofat
Ash Sofat Industry Relations

CEO | Somak Holidays

Phone: +44 (0)208 423 3000

Somewhere in my genes is this passion to travel around Africa, which was probably ignited by the fact that I was born and brought up in Kenya. My father established Somak nearly fifty years ago and I found it only natural to establish and develop a division of Somak that provides bespoke holidays to Africa. Furthermore, I am lucky to be working with people who share the same passion for Africa as I do - we understand the many operational challenges that exist, we know which areas to go to, we understand the geography and culture of the region. Apart from going on Safari, I play golf (badly) and enjoy watching sport (usually live); I am a regular spectator at Lord's.

Haja Rasambainarivo
Haja Rasambainarivo Indian Ocean Islands

Co-founder | Asisten Travel Madagascar

Phone: +261 202 257 755

After travelling across all continents while working for a major Conservation NGO, I co-founded Asisten Travel, a Madagascar based DMC in 2009.  We built a company which is now a leader in the Indian Ocean travel industry by specialising in high-end experiential travel in Madagascar and its neighbouring islands. We won several trophies at the World Travel Awards among them Madagascar's Leading DMC 2020, 2021. Asisten Travel now has an office in Antananarivo and Nosy Be Island. 

My previous involvement on the board of major tourism associations & chambers of commerce in Madagascar has been instrumental to lobby for the cause of Madagascar operators. Until May 2021, I represented tourism industry employers at the sectorial committee of the Madagascar Professional Training Fund (FMFP), my role was to assist in the final evaluation of projects proposals and approve allocation of funds to capacity development projects in our industry.

It is an honour to join ATTA's Advisory Board and I look forward to working with our members in the Indian Ocean islands.

Chris Mears Executive Director | ATTA & Managing Director | Experience Africa Events


Phone: +44 (0)20 7937 4408 / +44 (0) 7710 306 286

Chris joined ATTA® as COO in January 2017 after previously spending 10 years living in Cape Town running the Cape Town office for long time ATTA® member Acacia Adventure Holidays. 

Chris took over as CEO on 01 January 2018

Chris has spent all his career involved with African Tourism and has a deep seated passion for the continent having traveled extensively including overland from London to South Africa with extended periods of time in Tanzania.

Chris' experience covers all aspects from reservations, sales and marketing to operations and product development.

After running ATTA as CEO from January 2018 to September 2020 Chris took over as Managing Director of Experience Africa Events and takes over the responsibility for all of ATTA's events including trade shows, networking event and the flagship Experience Africa held in London in June