Who is on the Atta Board?

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Chris Mears Chief Executive

CEO from 2018, COO from 2017

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 from 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.


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Nigel Vere Nicoll FRGS President

Company: Atta

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

Phone: +44 (0)20 7937 4408

Nigel Vere Nicoll appointed to the Board 1994. Atta Director and Company Secretary 1997.

Chief Executive from 2000, Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society (1972)

President from 2018

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

Nigel sits on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Consular Stakeholder Panel and the Travel Advice Review Group (TARG) and is a member of the United Nations WTO Tourism Emergency Response network (TERN) working on crisis management in the tourism sector and is tourism advisor to the Brenthurst Foundation, and formerly International Tourism advisor to the President of Malawi from 2011-2014.

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Julian Edmunds Chairman, East Africa (Tanzania) & Aviation Director

Company: Coastal Aviation

Director from 2015

Phone: +255 (0)222 602 430

With family living in Harare, I have always wanted to be involved with Africa. I started in the Travel industry in 1989 as a Safari Tour Operator, before I moved back to Zimbabwe to establish Bush Telegraph, a marketing and consultancy company specialising in marketing safari camps and lodges to tour operators throughout the world.

The down turn in tourism in Zimbabwe in 1999 allowed me the time to undertake my Private Pilots License, during this time I also consulted for a short-lived start-up tourism airline for Zimbabwe and Mozambique. However the flying bug was firm and I undertook my Commercial Pilots License in 2001 at the ripe old age of 36! I have flown throughout Africa on contracts or ferry flights for DHL, Solenta Aviation and Federal Air; the latter two I have remained in partnership with, when starting TFC in 2007.

I am proud to have joined Coastal Aviation, East Africa's largest tourism specialist airline, as Managing Director in 2015. Although, largely desk bound, these days, I still actively fly, when I can and I use my tour operating experience to help us develop our products.

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Rosemary Mugambi East Africa (Kenya) Director

Company: Serena Hotels

Director from: 2017

Phone: +254 (0)734 699 809

Rosemary has been with the Serena Group of Hotels for the pasts 28 years, having joined as a management trainee when the group had a portfolio of only five hotels in Kenya. She has served in various management capacities at different Serena properties and was Serena’s 1st female Lodge Manager managing The Samburu Serena Safari Lodge.

In 2000 Rosemary moved to the Sales and Marketing Department as the Group Sales Manager responsible for sales for 11 properties in Kenya and Tanzania. The company portfolio has since grown to 24 properties following its expansion in Africa with properties in Uganda, Rwanda and Mozambique as well as new properties in Kenya and Tanzania.

Rosemary was promoted to the position of Regional Sales and Marketing Director for the Serena Group in November, 2012.

She also sit on the board of Kenya Utalii College - her alma mater.

André Laget South African Director

Director from: 2014

Phone: +27 (0)82 657 2224

André Laget, Managing Director at Akilanga DMC, is a true son of Africa. André was born in the East African Golden Horn and raised between Africa, Yemen and Swiss boarding schools. André has a multilingual background, with a French father and Italian mother. He grew up following the footsteps of great continental explorers, Arthur Rimbaud and Henry de Monfreid.

In 2000 he moved back to Africa, but soon his explorer upbringing brought him in search of new horizons and he crossed the South Atlantic towards Brazil. Few people back then foresaw the business opportunities of a young and vibrant new economy.

Besides being a dedicated husband, father of three and businessman, André loves flying and photography.

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Shelley Cox Southern Africa Director

Director from: 2017

Phone: +263 (0)774 641 622

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Shelley developed a deep love for Africa and its wildlife from a very young age. Having completed her secondary school, and after three years of working and travelling, she made the decision to move to South Africa where she completed a Bachelor of Journalism and Psychology at Rhodes University in Grahamstown South Africa. Her third year University Vacation was spent back in Hwange National Park where she assists WILDCRU with their Lion Research project for a few three weeks. Due to the political and economic strife in Zimbabwe, Shelley decided to return to UK and worked in Strategic Partnerships in a global Foreign Exchange firm, volunteered for renowned Tour Operator Zambezi Safaris and co-founded the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (an initiative set up to recognise the talent of the Zimbabwean diaspora in UK and to remove political, cultural or racial barriers amongst Zimbabweans).

In 2011 the yearning to return home to African soil was too much, and Shelley moved back to Zimbabwe where she took up her role as Marketing and Sales Manager for African Bush Camps.

Shelley has over the last six years had articles and images raising awareness on conservation and travel to Africa published in Travel Africa Magazine, Discover Zimbabwe Magazine, Zambezi Traveller, and The Bradt Travel Guide. In addition, she has worked for the Conservation & Wildlife Fund and assisted ZTA with their endeavours to improve and expand on Marketing Zimbabwe as a favoured African destination.

In 2016 Shelley departed from African Bush Camps and as of November 2016 has been heading up the Great Plains Conservation ventures in Zimbabwe.

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Giles Trotter UK Tour Operator Director

Company: Timbuktu

Director from: 2017

Phone: +44 (0)7989 420299

Brought up the National Parks of Zambia, Giles has led safaris from the age of 18. He worked for 10 years in geological exploration, before returning to Zambia to run Norman Car Safaris and then setting up his own walking and mobile safari operation in the North Luangwa National Park. Giles married and returned to the UK to help set up Scott Dunn, a successful luxury specialist tour operator.

He now is working with several diverse tour operating businesses featuring a wide range of destinations and business models. Giles lives near Winchester with his wife and three children. He is passionate about African travel, aviation and travel technology.

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Honour Schram de Jong Representation Director

Company: Honour Way

Director from: 2013

Phone: +44 (0)844 800 4661

Honour Schram de Jong set up Honour Way in 2007, offering a personalised marketing service for unique and luxury places across Africa. With a background in sales and marketing across various industries speaking various languages, Honour decided her passion lay in travel and people and changed direction gaining a Masters in International Hotel & Tourism Management. Immediately upon completion she moved to Zambia, travelled extensively both within Africa and key source markets around the world and fell in love with this incredible continent. With an intimate knowledge of working in Africa and a European marketing background, Honour’s return to Europe culminated in Honour Way. Her relationship with all sides of the trade, enthusiasm and innovative approach has allowed her company to flourish over its 10 years.

Outside of the Africa arena, she does motivational talks, mentors students in their final year at Oxford Brookes and raises money for Tujatane School but she can also be found looking for new challenges, however, having sailed various Ocean’s of the world this can sometimes prove hard to beat.

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Ico Inanc European Director

Director from: 2011

Phone: +39 (0) 266 982 915

Educated between Italy, Switzerland, Australia and the UK Ico has a multiethnic background, is fluent in several languages, is an avid reader and craves for anything related to Southern Africa from politics to literature; since an early age only spoke of Africa driving people around him insane.

He first read African Politics and Gender Studies (Ba) at Richmond College London, then Development Studies and Vietnamese(Ba) at prestigious SOAS, eventually earned a MSC in Tourism Planning and Development at University of Surrey; whilst studying sustained himself through working for a renowned art dealer in London. He has two passions: Byzantine history and Africa, his choice was between becoming an academic or travelling, Ico chose the latter.

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Sarah Hoyland New Markets (Australia) Director

Director from: 2017

Phone: +61 (0)409 203 967 / +61 (0)2 9327 0666

I was born below Sydney International Airport’s flight path, opposite a railway station and with a bus stop at my front door……. is it any wonder I chose travel as a career?  

The clincher was travelling to Egypt and Kenya as a teenager – from that point on I was hooked. On graduating from college with a degree in Hospitality Management and Tourism I winged my way back to Africa and spent 7 months traversing the continent followed by a stint backpacking through Europe.

When the money ran out I returned to Australia and sought out every adventure specialist in Australia in an effort to get a job that would allow me to travel the world. Twenty five years later I have visited over 60 countries, stood on every continent in the world and am a Director of The Classic Safari Company where I am surrounded by an amazing tribe of people who share my passion and enthusiasm for the wilderness, the wildlife and cultures of Africa.

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Fiona Jeffery OBE Industry Relations Director

Director from: 2014

Phone: +44 (0)7818 450 086 / +44 (0)20 8944 9490

Born in Scotland and a graduate of Edinburgh University Fiona Jeffery has had a long and accomplished career working in the travel industry. After joining Reed Exhibitions in 1986, Fiona quickly climbed through the ranks to become Exhibition Director for World Travel Market in 1994 & also British Travel Trade Fair in 1996, Managing Director and ultimately Chairman of WTM until 2013. In 1997 she launched a responsible tourism drive across the industry globally and in 2007 she launched World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM in partnership with the UNWTO which is now the largest responsible tourism gathering across the world.

In 1998 Fiona also founded the international water development charity Just a Drop of which she is Chair. Its aim is to encourage the travel and tourism industry and businesses generally to give back to communities across the world with the provision of clean water and sanitation.

Fiona now has a portfolio career including Non Exec on a number of Boards, as well as the UN World Committee for Tourism Ethics and Chairs Tourism for Tomorrow Programme for WTTC. In 2012 she was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to travel and tourism and the Hall of Fame Award for her contribution to the Environment and in 2013 she was awarded TTG Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award.

Fiona says her best job is being Mum to Cameron and Lauren.

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Damian Cook Social Media Director

Company: E Tourism Frontiers

Director From: 2013

Phone: +254 (0)733 826 712

Damian Cook is the Founder and CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers, a major initiative to develop online tourism and social media in emerging markets. He worked in the tourism and online sectors for 12 years including consulting with the Kenya Tourist Board and other destinations before creating a new organization to train and resource developing markets and facilitate new business for online sellers. E-Tourism Frontiers has since worked with DMOs, regional authorities and private associations in destinations including South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, Jordan, Qatar, Palestine, Greece and many others.

E-Tourism Frontiers holds regular seminars, training events and conferences including an annual summit in Cape Town in partnership with South African Tourism which is the largest event of its kind on the continent.

Damian is a regular speaker and contributor at international tourism forums. He has offices in Kenya and Jordan and lives in Watamu on the Kenyan Coast.