Tourism: Balafon Awards honours Best Airlines, personalities in West Africa

Accra Weizo airlines

Which is the Best Airline in West Africa?  ASKY, AWA or Air Cote D’Ivoire?

As the decline of the once Dominant Nigerian Airlines sets in, the Orphan Airlines with adoptive Parents have taken Over the skies of West Africa.

ASKY partially owned by Ethiopian Airlines is today the most Profitable Airline in West Africa with Profits of over USD $4m in 2016. It is based in Lome Togo and recently added 2 B737-800 to its fleet and has begun Long haul flights to South Africa and planning for Europe. In just 5 years it has become the biggest International Airline in West Africa.

Air Cote Divoire has a French DNA and is based in Abidjan. It recently acquired some new Aircraft and has ramped up flights to Dakar and Accra linking Senegal and Libreville, Gabon with daily flights through Accra and Cotonou.

African World Airline, AWA, with its Chinese God parents won the highly competitive Lagos Accra war. This small Ghana based Airline with 5 Embraer 145 defeated Mighty Nigeria Airlines like Aero, Arik, Dana, Medview and is now locked in a battle with Air Peace and Rwandair.

It started the Lagos Accra Flight as its only international flight out of Ghana. From 3 flights a week as at February 2015 AWA is now doing 28 flights a week out of Lagos and is planning on opening Abuja Accra flights in the coming weeks. Air Peace is the only Nigerian Airline that might be competing on the West Coast route with Daily Flights from Lagos to Accra. With its huge domestic Operations in Nigeria it has taken Over from Arik as the biggest player in Nigeria. Using B737-500s, Air Peace is the Number one Airline in Nigeria today.

The choice for the Balafon Award committee members will be tough. The West African Airline of the year is one of the Awards slated to hold at Accra Weizo the ECOWAS region Travel Fair. The topic for discussion at the Aviation part of the conference will be on Making West Africa a domestic Aviation Environment.

Organizers of the 3RD Accra Weizo in Ghana have also revealed that the 2017 edition of the Top 100 Tourism Personalities Awards would hold at this Year’s event in Accra, Ghana. Tourism Top 100 Personalities in West Africa Awards is most glamorous gathering of “Who is who” in the travel and tourism industry in West Africa. This is in line with the vision of Accra Weizo, a foremost travel and tourism event, with a theme to promote seamless travels in West Africa. The awards would hold on the 26th May 2017 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.

The 3rd Edition of Accra Weizo is organized in partnership with ATQNews.com and Travellers Magazine. ATQNews.com is the online platform of African Travel Quarterly, the publishers of Travellers Magazine, the first travel magazine in West Africa and which for over two decades has continued to blaze the trail of promoting travel and tourism related news, products and organizations on the African continent.

The award for the Top 100 Tourism Personalities in West Africa are for individuals who have distinguished themselves and through their efforts or that of their organization have impacted positively on the travel and tourism sector across the West African sub region, whose effort have stimulated and helped to achieve their individual country’s tourism goals and forging interactions among stakeholders and customers across the region.

The shortlisted nominees for the other award categories are
  1.Tourism man of the year.  
Gov.Ben Ayade of CRS, Nigeria
Nkereuwem Onung of NATOP, Nigeria
Nancy Sam of TOUGHA Ghana

2. Aviation Man of the Year.     
Togbe Afede of AWA, Ghana
Allen Onyema of Air Peace, Nigeria
Alhaji Muneer Bankole of Medview, Nigeria
Country manager KLM, Ghana

3.Hotel  Man of the year
Dr. Kwesi Ndoum of Coconut Grove, Ghana
Danny Kiopouroglou of Eko Hotel, Nigeria
GM Kempinski Accra, Ghana
GM Radisson Blu Freetown, Sierra Leone
Olufemi Talabi of Citilodge, Nigeria

4. Travel personality of the year.
Obinna Ekezie of WakaNow, Nigeria
Ivor Agyeman Dua. Author
Sydney Baeta
Stella Obinwa of Dubai Tourism.

  5. Best Airline in West Africa.
Asky, Air Cote D’Ivoire, AWA, Air Peace

  6. Best Hotel in West Africa.
Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko  in Sierra Leone
Renaissance Hotel Ikeja in Nigeria
Kempinski Gold city in Ghana
Labadi Beach in Ghana

   7. Best Airport in West Africa.
Lome Airport in Togo and Accra Airport in Ghana

   8.Best Airport Handling company in West Africa.
Aviance, Sahcol, Nahco Aviance

This year’s Accra Weizo is looking to create networking opportunity for players in the travel and tourism industry to Meet the products, companies and personalities who drive travel business in the sub region. This presents a great opportunity for people and organizations seeking to do business in West Africa.

Expected guests and speakers at the event include; Hon deputy minister of Tourism Zimbabwe Anastasia Ndlovu,Dr. Harold Demuren, Former Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), ECOWAS, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, President, Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) and Damian Cook, Chief Executive Officer, E-Tourism Frontiers Kenya.

Expected participants are Tour Operators and Travel Agents in Ghana, Nigerian Tour operators and Travel agents, Team Africa members, Travel agents from Benin republic and Togo, South African Tourism Board, Dubai Tourism, Tour Operators from Liberia, Destination managers, Leading Hotels General Managers amongst others.

Accra Weizo will be imparting knowledge to its various participants through Seminar, Networking, Exposure and Provision of Digital Skills and awards. In order to achieve these, the following Topics are going to be discussed intensively by globally rated experts. The benefits of making west Africa a domestic aviation environment; Digital training session to cover; How to package inbound and Outbound Tours, eTourism in Theory and Practice, E-marketing Strategy, Web Design, Content and Management, Analytics and Conversion Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Relationship Marketing, The Generation Gap- Encouraging User Generated Content; Trip advisor, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Managing Multimedia and Mobile and Location Based Services.

Dein Gbabo, Project Manager of AKWAABA African Travel Market, speaking about the event, explained that, “In West Africa, the people in travel business need to network. Each country in the region works in silos. This situation necessitated the need to create opportunities to network and by so doing stimulate the great potentials and benefits that lurk within travel business among the countries in the region.

“Based on these, we are profiling for the Balafon Awards and Top 100 Hotels in Ghana, selections are done annually, and would hold at the 3rd Accra Weizo on the 26 – 27th May, 2017 at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana. We invite you to join us in Accra, Ghana for the event,” she concluded.

The last edition of Accra Weizo pulled together stakeholders in the travel, tourism, aviation and allied sector at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel and Resort in Accra, Ghana and featured a brain-storming session with a focus on liberalised air connectivity, visa accessibility and free movement in Africa.

The stakeholders who were mostly drawn from Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries observed the need to eradicate all entry barriers militating against free movement in the sub- region, to facilitate seamless travel in West Africa.

Balafon is the West African Travel Awards instituted many years ago by the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market. It was set up to recognize individuals who have excelled in Tourism and Travel and who also have contributed to the growth of Tourism and Travels in the region. But from this year 2016 Balafon Awards will become part of Accra Weizo event.
We also do other awards: African Travel Awards. These awards happen every year and holds at the Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos, Nigeria.

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