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01st December, 2015.
L-R: The Director of Marketing, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Jacinta Nzioka presenting souvenirs to the former Nigeria Ambassador to Spain, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu during her visit to KTB Stand at Akwaaba African Travel Market 2015 as the Organisers, Ikechi and Rita Uko looks with admiration recently

Akwaaba Travel Market 2015 unites Africa with Middle East tourism giant

By Omololu Olumuyiwa

The Akwaaba African Travel Market 2015, the only travel exhibition in West Africa recognised by United World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has stepped up on its right track of promoting travel trade and placing Africa on global tourism map by having exhibitors outside the Africa continent participated in this year edition.

The Middle East tourism giant, 'Dubai Tourism' in partnership with Emirates joined the tourism minded countries in Africa like Kenya, South Africa, The Gambia, Rwanda and host of others as major exhibitors at Akwaaba African Travel Market held at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria on 22 - 24 November, 2015.

The Stakeholders in the African travel and tourism sector gathered in Lagos for three days to brainstorm on ways to promote and improve the travel tourism sector in West African at the Akwaaba African Travel Market with Dubai Tourism as the "Official Sponsor of the 2015 edition".

The organiser of the event and publisher of ATQ Magazine, Mr. Ikechi Uko said "Akwaaba is a popular word in the West Africa which translates to welcome in Ghana. The African Travel Market Expo has been running for over 10 years as an influential travel show in Africa. Akwaaba has become the most important travel marketing platform in the region drawing 7,000 to 10,000 visitors from over 20 countries".

Uko stated further that Akwaaba has become an avenue to market Nigeria as a great destination. He disclosed that the country has enormous tourism potential that could be showcased to the international community while the global tourism community also recognised Nigeria as the tourism hub in West Africa.

The special guest, Nigeria former Ambassador to Spain, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, shortly before cutting the tape at the opening ceremony of "Akwaaba African Travel Market" has said that tourism was a veritable platform for increasing Nigeria revenue generation because the country had beautiful things that could attract tourists to the country.

She said that the country could generate a lot of revenue from tourism, especially now that its economy would be diversified.

According to her, the number of local and foreign exhibitors at the event in spite security challenges is a sign of good things to come from Nigeria's tourism industry.

"Nigeria is a great nation with great people, nice hospitality and also with rich cultural heritage", Bianca said.

In his speech also at the opening ceremony, Alhaji Aminu Agoha, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), said the benefits of the exhibition to the Nigerian economy were enormous.

Agoha said the influx of foreigners would increase foreign exchange earnings and also boost patronage for the hospitality industry.

The three-day event kicked-off with a 'Wedding & Spa Show' sponsored by Dubai Tourism in partnership with Emirates.

The Wedding Show featured over 10 countries showcasing wedding and honeymoon destinations, weekend getaways and spa sanctuaries.

The second day of the exhibition tagged "Aviation Day" with the theme: "National Carrier, Open Skies and Connectivity in Africa" featured presentations of papers by notable individuals and experts in the aviation industry on current issues concerning the sector.

Among the distinguished speakers at the forum are, IATA Regional Head for Member (Airline) and External Relations for Africa, Adefunke Adeyemi; Managing Director, International Services, Ethiopian Airlines, Esayas Woldemariam and Director- General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman.

The third day christened "Hospitality Day" created a forum for hoteliers and stakeholders in the hospitality sector to discussed on various topics on; innovation, hotel and payment system for the modern hotel, managing online reviews, using social media as a tool for hotel growth and online booking in Nigeria and developing world class conferencing in Africa.

The Hospitality Day have the Country Manager - Nigeria, Travelstart, Lilian Obinna-Igwe; CEO of Current-Links Systems Limited, Bob Bamgboye; and the Head of Business Enterprise, Samsung West Africa, Anu Rotimi Agboola as the key speakers.

The hospitality day was rounded up with an educative forum having as speaker the Chairman and CEO, Westlog Nigeria Ltd, Chief Okoro Jerry Rowlands talking on the topic: "How to know your wine".

Shortly after his presentation, the participants and exhibitors had a taste of different quality wines during the "Wine Tasting Session".

The Executive Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade also visited all the exhibitors at their respective stands. He lauded their interest in promoting their products at Akwaaba and commended the foreign exhibitors for believing in driving their tourism force in West Africa from Nigeria.

Governor Ayade seized the opportunity of his visit to invite the exhibitors and visitors at Akwaaba to 'Carnival Calabar', Africa's biggest street party holding annually in December in Calabar, Cross River State of Nigeria

Some of the exhibitors and visitors who shared their views on the Akwaaba African Travel Market 2015 with Travelscope Magazine commented on various things relating to the event.

The Director of Marketing, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Jacinta Nzioka disclosed that as part of continuing efforts to increase awareness for Kenya as an outstanding tourism destination to Nigerian visitors and prospective investors, the Kenya Tourism Board at their exhibition stand at Akwaaba African Travel Market came to showcased and enlightened the visitors on what makes 'Magical Kenya' to be unique and 'A Must-Visit Destination' for tourists.

Nzioka hinted that Kenya Tourism Board in collaboration with Kenya Airways (KQ) has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly target key markets in which Nigeria, China, Uganda and France are among as key to its diversification strategy in a bid to turn around the tourism fortunes and increase the tourist's inflow to Kenya.

"KTB participation at Akwaaba Travel Markets serves as an avenue for the travel trade buyers, stakeholders and intending tourists to have a one-on-one discussion with the our team who are on ground to showcase the tourism potentials of the country", Jacinta said.

Rwanda Tourism, The Gambia Tourism Board and South Africa Tourism were also on full display at this year's Akwaaba Travel Market, actively promoted their unique value proposition as a leisure destination to the West Africa travelers and trade during the three day show.

An hospitality expert and Lead Consultant, Intrigued by Service, Ghana, Wilhelmina Appenteng applauded the organizer of the event and commended the speakers at the hospitality forum. She said, "All the presentations from the speakers are highly educative and informative to all participants and hospitality stakeholders in attendance".

A travel consultant from Ife Voyages Event & Travel Agency, Cotonou, Republic of Benin, Madam Antoinette Kabine said the trip to Nigeria has been fruitful to her as she was able to network with stakeholders in the travel sector in Nigeria and other countries.

An aviation educator, Mr. Kenneth Oudah, Director, Stay Up Institute of Aviation Technology, Ibadan, in his reaction said "Aviation Day of the event has been a blessing to me and my aviation students. All the contributors are so passionate and factual during the course of their presentation. I was refreshed, educated and updated with my students who attended the forum".

One of the raffle draw winners of "Samsung SMART Signage TV 40" organised by Samsung Electronics, former president, The Tourism Club International, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Chapter, Abeokuta, Oladipo Afoke lauded the tourism promotion drive of the organiser and commended Samsung for supporting the vision.

The CEO, New Realms Travels & Tours, Mr. Abiodun Ajibade said his participation at the event has further exposed that African countries are richly blessed going by the cultural performances displayed by the Kenya and Rwandan dancers.

Ajibade congratulated the organiser, Mr. Ikechi Uko on the grand styles of the 2015 edition. "The organiser should not relent on his tourism initiative of Akwaaba in projecting Nigeria as a fertile ground for African countries to showcase their tourism potentials", Ajibade said.

The Akwaaba Travel Market paraded several exhibitors among them are: Ethiopian Airlines; Kenya Tourism Board; RwandAir, South African Tourism; Dubai Tourism; Royal Maroc Airlines; Rwanda Tourism Board; Golden Tulip Hotels; Travelstart Nigeria; Kenya Airways; The Gambia Tourism Board; Samsung Electronics; and South African Airways.

   About Us  
Travelscope Magazine is publication with primary focus of serving the travel, tourism, aviation and hospitality sector with the latest global trends in the industry.

Travelscope Magazine is a published by Bisoprints Communication as a rallying point for the advancement of the industry. It has grown to become a clear market leader focusing on constant innovation in the emerging travel, tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria.


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