Tourism: Akwaaba Travel Market opens amidst fun, business activities


THE one-stop travel trade show for African tourism and travel stakeholders, Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM) started yesterday with improved outing and activities.

Keeping to its innovative tradition, the 14th edition of AfTM which was opened with the walk the talk session show an improved event with exhibitors from Africa and beyond already displaying their different product and destination packages.

The culinary session with jollof rice war taking the centre stage was not only a spectacle but a crowd delight for everyone as the jollof rice war contingent from Nigeria, Ghana and the Gambia gave all participants a taste of their specially prepared jollof rice.

At the contest, the best of the chefs from the three countries slugged it out to determine which country cooks the best Jollof rice.

The result of the contest which will be released before the end of the three days travel market has judges selected from non-West Africa to use different criteria to select the winner of 2018 edition.

Speaking after the cutting of the tap, the Director-General of the National Council of Art and Culture and President of World Craft Council, African Region, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe commended the organisers for sustaining the exhibition for 14 years.

Runsewe said the platform is a veritable space NCAC to showcase not only its innovative effort as an agency but also the strength of Nigeria as it relates to its enormous cultural potential.

“We are using the platform to showcase the strength of our great Nigeria and since this edition of Akwaaba has Dubai, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, The Gambia, Ghana, South Africa and other countries, our job is to ensure that everybody that comes to our country has a memorable hospitality of Nigeria by giving them a treat of our culture.

Giving an instance of Dubai which showcases its products elaborately at the event, Runsewe said.

So we don’t allow this kind of platform to waste. You can imagine, Dubai took almost half of this top floor. So if a country that recognises the culture and tourism like Dubai is here to showcase what it has, we must take advantage of that.

Otunba Runsewe used the opportunity to invite Nigerians to come and participate and be trained in its free skill acquisition programme.

He said the participants will be given certificates at the end of the training programme.

The NCAC boss stated further that: “We are training people on skill acquisition free of charge in bead making and others, this is part of how to empower the people, we give certificates at the end of the training. In Abuja, we tried it and we were shocked that most of the people we trained have opened shops after the training and if this is given a serious backing I am sure crime will be reduced in this country. We met three girls in Abuja and they were prostitutes and we took them out of the street and they have left prostitution and they have now found something that gives them hope.”

The NCAC brought yam floor, beans floor, Garri and other items branded for 2018 Akwaaba to the expo.

At the NCAC stand, there were arrays of products like disinfectants, pomade, car air freshener, liquid soaps and others made by the people trained by the Council in skill acquisition.

Speaking earlier at the Jollof rice contest, Senator Florence Ita Giwa, the Chairperson of the Carnival Calabar and a Promoter of African Cuisine who was the Special Guest at this year’s Jollof Rice Competition applauded the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market for their resilience.

She said Akwaaba Travel Expo has put Nigeria on a different pedestal in the world as all the negativity about Nigeria is being corrected by Akwaaba.

She said Carnival Calabar has collaborated with Akwaaba up to the level that it now has an international carnival where other countries from across the globe now participate in the carnival which takes place on the 28th of December every year.

“We have told stories of climate change and now we are working and telling stories of human trafficking and sex slavery which is the focus of this year’s edition of Carnival Calabar with theme Africanism.


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