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05th November, 2013.
R-L: Brandon Clifford, Senior Manager, Meeting and Convention Sales, South African Tourism discussing with Mr. Olugbenga Adebayo, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Gadeshire Travels & Tours at Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos recently. (Photo: Omololu Olumuyiwa)

South African Tourism excelled, thrilled stakeholders at Akwaaba Travel Market

By Omololu Olumuyiwa

The fun, thrill and network experience of all the stakeholders and participants who visited the South African Tourism (SAT) exhibition stand at the just concluded Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) really geared them to action as in proposing a visit or arrange special tour packages to South Africa.

Akwaaba African Travel Market over the past nine years has become the most important travel marketing platform in West Africa.

The 9th edition of AFTM that was held at the prestigious Eko Hotel Expo Centre, Lagos, Nigeria on October 27 - 29, 2013 witnessed key participation of exhibitors from South Africa and other African countries like Ghana, Gambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya among others.

South African Tourism makes its debut at the 9th edition of the only travel exhibition listed by United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO) in West Africa.

The spectacular news is that SAT, as one of the the new entrants at the event knows their onions and prepared beyond expectation in showcasing what makes South Africa one of the most favourite destinations in Africa.

On arrival of visitors at the South African Tourism stand, a card designed in flight boarding pass format will be given, which is to be presented to all the exhibiting South African Tourism partners. The exhibitors within the stand will append their signature after discussion and networking.

To the admiration of the visitors, well package souvenirs in South Africa Tourism bag will be given to then on returning the signed card. The bag contained many useful gifts that are vital for official use of the stakeholders in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.

In a brief chat, Brandon Clifford, Senior Manager, Meeting and Convention Sales, South African Tourism disclosed that his presence on behalf of South African Tourism at Akwaaba was to enlighten the stakeholders and visitors more on the forth coming "MEETINGS AFRICA 2014" and "INDABA 2014" respectively.

Clifford hinted, "Meetings Africa is the continent's biggest trade show for the business events industry, attracting more than 300 quality, vetted buyers from all over the world who come to Johannesburg for two days to do intensive business with the best that this contingent offers."

The next edition of Meetings Africa 2014 is scheduled to hold February 25 - 26, 2014 at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.

INDABA is one of the largest tourism marketing events in African calendar and one of the top three 'must visit' events of its kind on the global calendar.

It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa's best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.

"INDABA is a trade event that attracts well over 13,000 delegates from the travel and tourism related industries", Clifford disclosed.

One of the exhibitors at the South African Tourism stand, Faiz Noodien, Managing Director, Legend Tours said, "I knew Nigerians that they preferred a very reasonable and good tour packages that still meets their taste. That is what we are doing best at Legend Tours; we have various accommodation offers that are very moderate for maximum comfort of the guests".

Faith Francis, Sales Executive-Africa Inbound, Tsogo Sun said, "Tsogo Sun is the leading hotels, gaming and Entertainment Company in South Africa, providing a vast variety of hospitality and exciting leisure experiences."

"Our hotels portfolio provides world-class accommodation across all markets, including elegant, individually branded deluxe hotels and well known trusted market leaders in the premier through budget segments, including Southern Sun Hotels, Garden Court, SunSquare and Formula 1 hotels", Francis disclosed.

Mrs. Stephanie Georgewill, Travel Consultant, World Travel Shop said, "South African Tourism really came to tell the world that they are leading destination in Africa. I am not surprised that people are trooping to their exhibition stand. Now, the tour operators that have not organizing tour packages to South Africa are willing to do so".

"The South African Tourism stand out in this hall, comprises of those that really matter when it comes to hospitality services and especially on tour packaging. As the exhibition stand looks very attractive, same are the South African exhibitors with their packages", Mr. Kenneth Oudah, Chief Executive Officer, Stay Up Aviation Institute of Technology disclosed.

Mr. Olugbenga Adebayo, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Gadeshire Travels & Tours Ltd said, "I am impressed, thrilled and fascinated with the South African stand. As a matter of fact, I have to start my networking at this event from the South African Tourism stand".

As a matter of fact, I was not disappointed because I got more than that what I required during the course of my networking at the South African tourisim pavilion", Adebayo said.

Some of the exhibitors at the South African Tourism pavilion are; Intercontinetal Hotel; Syavava Tours; 54 On Bath Hotel; Legend Tours; Welcome Tourism Services;Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group; among others.

South African Tourism showed real hospitality to appreciate and further network with the stakeholder at a special cocktail organised after a successful debut at Akwaaba African Travel Market.

The forum provided an opportunity for Thobi Duma, Country Manager-Nigeria, South African Airways (SAA) to showered encomium on South African Tourism for participating at the exhibition.

"The presence of SAT at this year Akwaaba will add to the good story of South African Airways and I want to use this opportunity to thank the entire officials of South African Tourism for the massive support to promote South Africa", Duma said.

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