Africa: Akwaaba African Travel Market 13th Edition Exhibitors Are Happy- Says IKECHI UKO
Akwaaba African travel Market is West Africa’s leading event for the travel industry to meet industry professionals and conduct business deals. Through its industry networks, unrivalling global reach Akwaaba is a Platform that creates personal and business opportunities, providing customers with quality contacts, content and communities.
Talking about Content 2017 edition is phenomenal. The three days event in 2017 made it the 13th Edition. The venue was at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites. Victoria Island Lagos Nigeria. Akwaaba Africa Travel Market is the only International travel market in West Africa with various Countries cutting across Continents including the UAE, Dubai. South Africa, Rwander, Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Benin Republic ,Togo. and lots more.
The exhibition stands were. outstanding with various exhibitors ranging from Hotels, Aviation, Travel Agents and Tour Operators, State Tourism Boards, Foreign Trade and Tourism Sectors, Products and Service companies, Nationalities, National and Continental Food displays , government tourism agencies and lots more.
The three days Event was opened on Sunday 10th of September in a grand style by Otunba Olusegun Runsewe The Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and former DG Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
In his opening address Otunba Olusegun Runsewe applauded the organizers of Akwaaba and said that soon oil will be given a break as culture & tourism will now become the country’s new oil. Lagos State Ministry of Tourism team was present at the fair led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Art And Culture Lagos State Ashimi Jamiu Adewale, in his speech he spoke on the effort of the Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration in transforming Lagos State into a Mega City and A Destination of Choice . He said that the Government is investing heavily in Tourism and infrastructure and the State is safe to live in and invest.
Among high powered delegates present is the Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria Ambassador Satnislas Kamanzi Akwaaba was reloaded with the newly introduced concept “Chef Challenge” Competition. Everyone present looked forward to the newly introduced Chef Challenge tag “Jellof Rice War” between 28 Chefs from Nigeria and Ghana. The competition brought out new recipes for making Jellof rice also called Benachin as the hefs displayed their culinary expertise, Jollof Rice is a one-pot rice dish popular in many West African countries.The Chefs brought out different variations of this recipe to the delight of the Judges and Audience alike. Indeed there was Plenty of Jollof Rice to eat.
Otunba Olusegun Runsewe The Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) was the first to sample the Jollof rice along with Mr. Andrew-Nkereuwem- President of Nigerian Association Of Tour Operators (NATOP) and other dignitaries. According to the Chief Organiser Ikechi Uko a Travel Expert and Consultant. The Chief Executive Officer, Publisher of African Travel Quarterly Magazine, Chief Organiser BANTABA, a worthy African Tourism Promoter and The award winner African Hospitality and Tourism Personality of the year an award well deserved. During an interview with NaijaTrip at the travel Expo Ikechi Uko said that he is pleased that the Exhibitors are Happy.
NaijaTrip spoke with Mr Ndubuisi Ukpabi a representatives of Tour Brokers International and a Tour Consultant with the Company about his experience at Akwaaba. He said It was Interesting and that they have had the opportunity to interact with a whole lot of people especially people you’ve not met before although you follow them on Social Media such as Instagram and Twitter handle and for him its all about networking and it’s been positive.
Tour Brokers International represents a lot of Brands in Nigeria among which are Royal Caribbean and GT. they Sell Packages Cutting across board, to Corporate Organizations, Travel agencies and individuals.Indeed it was a Remarkable Experience at the 13th edition of Akwaaba African travel Market.
The exhibition was all encompassing as it covered a lot of aspects of tourism during the various seminars, Conferences, Workshops, Competition and Awards. It was indeed enlightening, engaging informative and of course entertaining. It is the beginning for Africa to look inward and collaborate among-st themselves to promote regional tourism for sustainable development and eradication of poverty through job creation and exploring of the bountiful opportunities the tourism industry provides in Africa.Aviation Day was one conference many looked forward to attending because of the theme “2016 Africa Aviation Accident Free Year- What Did Africa Do Right?”
The keynote address was delivered by Elder Gabriel Olowo the President of Sabre Network West Africa. He stressed the fact that Nigeria Aviation is safe and aviation remains the safest means of transportation. He gave some key reasons for the 2016 accident free year, which includes strict adherence to IATA designed IOSA safety certification by airlines; dedicated fund for maintenance; availability of funds for aircraft purchase by financial institutions, Continued advocacy and acceleration of IOSA certification as mandatory for all airlines to be certified by 2018.
He concluded that safety rest solely with a responsible operator as well as a responsible regulators.
Members of the panelist include; Babatunde Bankole Bernard President National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) and former President NANTA Alhaji Aminu Agoha. Mr. Tunji Oketunbi The Media and Public Relations Manager of Accidents Investigation Bureau (AIB). Country Manager ASKY Mobolaji Simon.
Destination Marketing was another informative session Seyi Olusanya a Destination marketing expert from Nigeria was the Moderator. while panelist consist of Lara of Jumia Travels, Stella Fubara-Obinwa Director of International operations with Dubai Tourism, Odion Chigbufue of Tour Brokers International 9TBI), Akuasi Agyemem Acting Chief Executive Officer Ghana Tourism.
They offered discussed the various packages their destinations offered and opportunities for investment.
The Women In Tourism Conference discussed Challenges women faced in the industry and the way forward. These discussion was initiated as a result of the roll Women play in tourism in Africa. Seventy percent of the top positions are chaired by Women, This is one of the reasons the Organizers deem it fit to recognize 100 African Women in Tourism African Travel 100 Top Women Awards honored African Women Cutting across Women from all over Africa. It was a grand event that saw Women Who have contributed immensely in various field of the Travel and Tourism Sector.
Ikechi Uko said the award is a way to get to an idea which is to get Africa to work with each other and to recreate Tourism product all over. He said getting South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria Gambia, Tanzania and others to jell was for that purpose.
To mention a few of the awardees are Chief Senator Eta Giwa from Calabar Nigeria, Mrs Zainab Ansell Director Zara Tours, Tanzania, Chiamaka Obuekwe, A Tour Operator in Nigeria popularly known as Social Prefect. Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah Minister For Aviation Ghana, Stella Fubara-Obinwa Director of International operations with Dubai Department of Tourism, Ms. Waturi Matu At Trademark East Africa. Farzana Dhanji from Kenya.
The idea of the Various program is to encourage and unite the Nations of Africa together to reinvent Africa’s Tourism, discuss challenges and Prefer solutions. This includes the Youths in tourism conference.
The Youth in Tourism Conference was a platform that afforded the Youths in tourism business the opportunity to share their experience and challenges with the audience and visitors alike. Solutions were also preferred and the The session was moderator is Olori supergal while t he panelist are made up of Mr. John Omololu Olumuyiwa of Managing Editor of Travel scope Magazine, Chiamaka Obuekwe popularly known as Social Prefect a Tour Operator, Pelu Awofeso of ,Next Door Travel, Twins Tourism, Allen Effeh of Ibom Tourism We can but talk about Carnival Calabar they dazzled visitors and exhibitors alike with an atmosphere of carnival rendezvous. highly captivating. Indeed at Akwaaba 2017 Africa meets the World.