Advisory Board

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 represent the members in the following geographical areas.

  • UK
  • Europe
  • East Africa
  • Southern Africa
  • South Africa
  • International Source Markets

Who is on the Atta Advisory Board?

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Ben Morison UK Tour Operator

Company: Far and Wild Travel

Director

Phone: +44 (0)1768 603 715

Ben has worked in the UK and African travel sectors for the best part of the last 20 years.  He learned the art of being a tour operator in his first job – working at Rainbow Tours for the wonderful man that was Roger Diski.  After this Ben started Imagine Africa (in 2005) – which he ran for a decade before selling the business to a rival tour operator. 

Ben is a director of Far & Wild Travel – a UK tour operator with offices in London and the Lake District, which specialises in tailor made travel throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean as well as India and Sri Lanka.

Ben has recently spent a year living in Kenya with his family – during which he founded the Flipflopi Project – an ambitious environmental project that has built an ocean-going sailing boat in Kenya out of recycled ocean plastic (including about 20,000 brightly coloured flipflops) to highlight marine pollution. 

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Simon Beck UK Representation

Company: Orbital Communications

Founder

Phone: +44 (0)1603 291 806

Simon has worked internationally with the African travel industry for over 15 years and is very passionate about promoting the unique experiences available across Africa.

With a variety of high-profile travel roles including working on World Travel Market he found a strong connection to the African continent many years ago.

Simon has travelled extensively in Africa and the Indian Ocean and has worked with numerous tourism boards, tour operators and agents, and high-profile properties over the years. He has a sound understanding and extensive experience of how sell and market this diverse and exciting continent.

In January 2012 he launched Orbital Communications which was quickly regarded as one of the leading African representation companies in the UK.

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Alex Walters Europe

Company: Great Plains Conservation

Sales & Marketing Manager

Phone: +27 (0)13 750 2629

47 going on 27, half-Swedish, half-Welsh = 100% Organic (swedes and leeks). Lives in rural Wales, married with 2 daughters, 2 cats, 2 dogs, GSOH.

To sum up Alex’s career in travel and Africa in reverse chronological order: Since 2010 he has been Sales and Marketing Manager for Europe and Middle East markets of one of the world's leading social and environmental enterprises, Great Plains Conservation.

This was preceded by 15 years working at various tour operators as product and sales manager in the Africa, Indian Ocean and Indian-subcontinent departments.

Post-university saw two years of managing grant schemes and interviewing expedition teams alongside Sir David Attenborough at the Royal Geographical Society, where I remain a Fellow to this day.

World-expert on 'termite mound distributions in and around dambos', after his three months RGS Supported undergraduate dissertation based in Zimbabwe's communal lands in 1993. King’s College London awarded him a First for that project. I think (he says), as no one had ever done it before, they were not sure whether what I written was utter rubbish or not, which was the start of my sales career and love of Africa.

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Jozef Verbruggen Europe

Company: Untamed Travelling

Founder

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 Cameroun for over two years.

In 2001 Jozef founded Untamed Travelling, a private travel designer specialized in high-end bespoke travel experiences. Starting off with two employees focussing on Africa, nowadays over thirty passionate travel experts daily customize journeys providing high quality, extensive knowledge, personal service, small-scale accommodations, professional guidance and unique travel experiences in awe-inspiring surroundings to optimally realize 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 Longhaul Destination’, a prestigeous award granted by the Dutch travel trade.

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

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James Haigh International Source Markets

Company: Elewana Afrika

Director of Sales & Marketing

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.

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Stefano Cheli East Africa (Kenya)

Company: Kitich Camp

Owner

Phone: +254 (0)718 139 359

Stefano has lived in Kenya all his life and started Cheli & Peacock Safaris with his wife Liz in 1985, doing high end mobile tented safaris and a boutique DMC. Over the next 30 years they grew the company to include a portfolio of boutique lodges / camps, designed and built by Stefano, they also had the management of Lewa Safari Camp, and won the tender to run tourism on the Loisaba Conservancy.  They founded the Cheli & Peacock Community Trust (now rebranded the Land & Life Foundation). The Cheli’s sold their business to Elewana Afrika in 2014 but kept the ownership of Kitich Camp.

Stefano has been a passionate conservationist in Kenya for many years, and his company invested in important and vulnerable conservation areas.  He was a co-founder and Chairman of the Mara North Conservancy for 10 years; a co-founder of KTF (Kenya Tourism Federation), and contributed to Kenya’s tourism policy for many years, as board member, vice-chairman and chairman of KATO (Kenya Association of Tour Operators). Stefano was a pioneer of the Ecotourism Society, and theirs was one of the first lodge groups to have Gold eco-rating and to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in the early 2000s.

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John Corse East Africa (Tanzania)

Company: Serengeti Balloon Safaris

Managing Director

Phone: +255 (0)27 254 8967

John Corse is a Tanzanian businessman with extensive experience in the tourism sector, currently the managing director of Serengeti Balloon Safaris.

He grew up in Kenya, was educated in the UK, has an honours degree in Economics and served as an officer in the British Army for 6 years before returning to Africa. He has been involved in Nomad Tanzania since 1998, was its managing director from 2007-2015 and remains on its board to this day. In addition, he has managed a fast-moving consumer goods business and the low-cost airline, Fastjet.

John was previously a board member for Atta from 2012 to 2014 and is a governing council member of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators.

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Nick Aslin Southern Africa

Company: Zambian Ground Handlers

Owner

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.

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André Laget South Africa

Company: Akilanga DMC & Events

Managing Director

Phone: +27 (0)82 657 2224

André Laget was born in Djibouti, East Africa, to a French father and Italian mother. His formative years were spent between Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen and Italy. He attended a boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland, after which he moved to France where he developed his skills in Hospitality and Tourism.

His career path began at a beach resort in Greece and when he returned to France, he managed various travel agencies. In Strasbourg, André became president of Travel Club Europe - a French travel agent’s association with over 700 members. And amongst other things he ran tourism courses to students.

In 2000, he and his wife, moved to Johannesburg. To date he runs and co-owns Akilanga DMC with a staff of around 150 people. The company was established in 1994 and operates in Southern and Eastern Africa, as well as the Indian Ocean Islands.  His focus is on unique and luxury travel experiences, specialising in the European and South American markets. 

André owns a variety of other businesses in the hospitality and software fields, as well as a watch brand.

He is passionate about photography, aviation and needless to say, is an enthusiastic traveller. He is his own best and worst client, and makes travelling to a new destination each year, a priority. In the near future he hopes to visit Palau and Japan where he is eager to learn about Japanese gastronomy. He speaks a range of languages including French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and English.

André previously held the position of Atta Director for Latin America and South Africa between 2014 and 2018.

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Shelley Cox Conservation & Sustainability

Company: Africa Conservation Travel

Co-Owner

Phone: +263 (0)774 641 622

Shelley Cox is a proudly born Zimbabwean with a deep passion for wildlife and conservation.

Having studied for a Bachelor of Journalism at Rhodes University in South Africa, Shelley has worked in the tourism industry for the past nine years and is a co-owner of Africa Conservation Travel, an organization with a focus on creating a greater connection between tourism, conservation and local communities.

In addition to Africa Conservation Travel, Shelley was also recently appointed to the Forestry Board of Zimbabwe, does voluntary consultancy work to Zambezi Elephant Fund, an organization focused on the protection of the middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve, and is also on the board of trustees for Victoria Falls Enviro Watch.

Shelley believes that collaboration is key to the conservation and preservation of Africa’s wildlife and habitats, and that it has become a global responsibility to ensure the African landscapes are conserved for future generations.