Africa: AKWAABA 2017 ends on high note
This year’s edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market has ended in Lagos. The event was described as a major success based on the quality of participants and activities.
Declaring the travel fair open, the Director General of National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe praised the organisers of the fair for building and sustaining a big brand in Africa and called for greater support for the fair.
Runsewe said Nigeria would soon give oil a break and that culture would become the country’s new oil.
The NCAC boss also disclosed that his parastatal will be taking the country’s culture commissioners to Dubai to understudy how the country was able to reposition their culture as foreign exchange earner.
Speaking also at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Mr. Ashimi Jamiu Adewale, said the Lagos State government is investing a lot in the area of tourism, environment and improvement of infrastructure to promote the growth of tourism in the state.
Mr Jamiu said the strategy is aimed at promotion which is why the state is also participating in the Akwaaba African Travel Market.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the state would take participants on a tour of the city of Lagos to showcase the beauty of the mega-city and to take guests to places of interest which they do not know exist in Lagos.
In his opening remarks, the organiser of the event, Mr. Ikechi Uko said the need to create something in Africa informed the decision to start Akwaaba African Travel Market.
Uko explained that Akwaaba started 13 years ago with only six exhibitors and that it is the only travel event that is solely private sector driven and without hosted buyers.
He commended Lagos State government for staging a come-back at Akwaaba after a long absence.
He said the Jollof contest was not actually a competition, but a hype to create something unique in a cuisine prepared differently in West Africa.
He said that there are about 25 versions of Jollof rice in West Africa.
The event featured beautiful dance steps from the energetic Rwandan dancers who added glitz and glamour to the event.
The Carnival Calabar performed at the event to the delight of the guests.
There was also the award for Top 100 African Women in Travels. Among the winners of the award include Ubongabasi Nseobot, Uloma Egbuna, Nancy Gwashi of the association of Ghanaian tour operators. Kenyan Waturu Matu, Lisa Sabogodi, Lolo Ngozi Ngoka, Fartima Garbati and many others.
Among the countries that participated were Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Togo and some foreign hospitality and travel brands.
The Ghanaian tourism board came with a high powered contingents led the tourism board’s general manager.
Lagos, the host state was very visible at the fair. Cross River State and Kebbi State were also there.
The Rwanda cultural troupe also put series scintillating performances.