Written By Lissa Alicia, edited by Derek Rouse
Ma’at International Travel Network, the new Philadelphia-based, Cultural Tourism & Trade Organization focusing on African Diaspora heritage, officially re-launched Ma’at International Travel Club during a radio interview on “Conversations With The Queen” blogtalk radio entitled “Global Heritage, Global Travel” hosted by Tae Queen, featuring Chinaza Duson (Paycation Travel, Inc) on Feb. 10th, 2014 by Derek Rouse, 25, Founder/Tourism Minister and Travel Agent. He originally planned the pre-launch of the travelers club in conjunction with the 38th Annual ATA World Congress in Buea, Cameroon in Oct of 2013. They are currently having a travel membership drive lasting now until the April 13th, 2014.
Until April 13th, a total of 100 memberships will be available globally for a reduced rate of $80 instead of the regular price of $149-$250. Included in the membership is the choice to become a travel agent and/or tour guide for Ma’at International, discounted vacation & educational travel, tax benefits (1099 form), a cultural heritage tourism program (based on your region), various events and networking opportunities, and for artist of all kinds, the chance to take your talents abroad as a brand ambassador for Ma’at International Travel Club.
The goal of Ma’at International is to train travel agents, tour guides, destination specialists and other travel professionals to positively market the African Diaspora by creating lasting bridges throughout the nations that were directly affected by the MAAFA through traveling and cultural awareness. Mr. Rouse, hopes to eliminate the “8 block radius mindset (hodophobia or fear of traveling)” of people who live in blighted inner city areas by also creating “sponsor and advertising opportunities for our travelers, students, artists, entertainers, and vendors alike; creating more affordable travel opportunities for frequent and student travelers; and new travel agents and tour guides for our organization”. He does it through what he dubbed “educational & cultural FAM trips”, an industry benefit for travel agents meaning Familiarization. He also responded by saying he wants to launch “25 travel club chapters, in 25 countries, within 2-5 years”. He explained that this goal also included various chapters throughout the U.S.A. including the headquarters in Philadelphia. It was also in alignment and celebration with his 25th birthday/year.
His initiative is in-part collaboration with Paycation Travel, X-Stream Travel Inc, Partners of America- Bahia Chapter of PA, and in cooperation with the Africa Travel Association (ATA) and Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), as well as various tour guides & companies in Philadelphia, the U.S., and globally who teach Africana Studies & Heritage through the Travel & Hospitality industry. The long-term goal, he explained, is to partner with industry leaders such as African-owned airlines, the embassies, tourism boards, tourism & hospitality schools, select hotels, African-American led CVBs, travel publications and other travel agencies. Other partnerships include culturally-centered restaurants, non-profits, local & national heritage festivals, bookstores, museums, African-centered schools & African Studies organizations, as well as the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the city’s mass transit system, SEPTA.
Currently Ma’at International is booking for major festivals & conference events for 2014 such as The Gambia Homecoming Roots Fest, Moorish Heritage Tour of Spain & Morocco, and the Africa Links and Trade Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Club chapters, tours, events and meet-ups for 2014-16 (not limited to) in Philadelphia (headquarters), New York City, Washington D.C., South Carolina, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean Islands (various nations), Brazil, Colombia, Belize, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, and Ethiopia.
National Director of Memberships
Paycation Travel, Inc