Spotlight on Atta directors: Tim Henshall

Today we introduce you to Tim Henshall of Kamili, our director in the UK guiding Atta in marketing strategies and development.

What is your role at Atta?

As a marketer of over 30 years experience, I am on the board to specifically contribute on marketing and communications related issues. I also aim to represent the interests of the numerous marketing agencies amongst Atta's membership.

Three words to describe you: 

Passionate, dynamic, vocal.

What is your job?

I'm the MD of three marketing and representation agencies, working for a wide variety of African tourism related clients - from individual independent safari lodges to national tourist boards. That involves me visiting tour operators (mainly in the UK) to promote our partners. To maintain product knowledge and discover new developments, I also visit Africa 4-5 times a year.

Why did you first go to Africa?

My wife of 25 years, Mandy, has always been passionate about wildlife and in 1995 she finally convinced me to visit Africa for the first time. We did a minibus tour of Tanzania's northern circuit and were totally bitten by the Africa bug. To prove it, we've visited every year since and I'll be making my 50th trip in a couple of weeks time.

How did you come to do what you do?

I was on holiday in Zambia in 2006 and was asked by the new owner of a lodge how she might go about marketing her was a "lightbulb moment" as I saw the potential to combine my passions for marketing, travel and Africa in to one by launching Kamili and thereby creating the best job in the entire world.

Where is your favourite place in Africa?

There are a great many places on the shortlist - Dzangha Bai in Central African Republic; Kunene in NW Namibia; Akagera NP in Rwanda; Gombe NP in Tanzania; South Luangwa in Zambia; Omo Valley in Ethiopia.....but if I could only visit one place again, it'd have to be Kibale Forest in Uganda because of its amazing chimp encounters and its Bigodi wetlands.

What is the strangest/scariest thing you have done?

Probably wading through ankle-deep waterholes with thick vegetation in search of Anaconda snakes in Venezuela - and yes we found one (by stepping on it) which when extracted from the water, turned out to be over 16 feet long. 

What advice would you give to a 20 year old me?

Make the most of your talents and don't worry about your (all to obvious) shortcomings or what some people think of you. Don't wait until you are 30 to visit Africa for the first time, then you can start Kamili all the sooner.

Do you have any major regrets?

My Dad sadly passed away when I was just 18, so he didn't get to see whether I was successful or not (I'm very content that with the raw materials I had to work with, I've done alright!) Other than that, I've made thousands of daft mistakes, but I've few regrets. 

Who or what guides your decision making?

I'm going to sound very heavy here - but I still chat with my late Dad, who gives me plenty of good advice. I also try to benchmark against an old boss - Aidan O'Meara - who had a totally different personality to me, but he was hugely successful and a great inspiration. I also have a rock beside me in the shape of my wife and I've a very talented team around me too.

What are you doing right now?

Working on an exciting Autumn trade event for Atta, be launched very soon; finalising a new marketing programme for a redefined Kamili portfolio......and deciding where to spend my 25th wedding anniversary and 50th birthday this June!!

Where are you happiest?

The obvious answer is on safari.....but I'd say I also love being "on stage" presenting to an audience of travel professionals (yes, really, I do) or in my office late into the evening, working on a challenging marketing brief.

Who'd be at my last supper? (I've chosen Africa or safari related..and all alive)

Jane Goodall - a hero I've never had the fortune to meet.

Chris & Tilde Stuart - I've read their guidebooks so often I really should meet them

Lynn Hughes - publisher of passion personified.

Amos Wekesa - an inspirational advocate for tourism to his homeland, Uganda.

Sue Watt - a great travel writer and lovely lady too!

Craig Rix - hugely committed to telling the world about Africa via his magazines.

Brian Jackman - a darn good storyteller

Ico Inanc - the industry's most flamboyant tour operator

Steve Bloom and Frans Lanting - I want a few photography tips...

A sprinkling of UK tour know who you are (L, J, B, M, R...etc)

....and a few others I cannot believe haven't come to mind yet...

Tim Henshall, Atta UK Director (Representation),