Akwaaba Africa Travel Market 2022 showcases the power of tourism to empower people – New Telegraph

Akwaaba Africa Travel Market 2022, recently held at Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos between October 31 and November 1, may have come and gone, but not the echoes of it which continued to vibrate on the travel scene, not just just in Nigeria but across the African continent and the global tourism space. This is no doubt due to the fact that it has attracted quite a number of private and public sector operators, who have seen the platform as a real avenue to display the beauty of their various destinations, product lines and services. through the B2B section. travellers, buyers and suppliers of travel.

It was an incredible two days of glitz and celebration of the best in travel across the continent, with different segments of the industry on display, ranging from airlines, tour operators, government agencies, travel agencies, insurance companies to… other allied operators, all consumed by passion as they engaged in various exchanges during the travel event. Expressing his satisfaction and joy at the success of the event, the organizer of the annual travel and tourism exhibition and conference, Ikechi Uko, revealed that there were a number of lessons and positives to take away from the meeting, which was the 18th edition of the B2B fair considered to be the largest in West Africa.

Given the participation of countries, operators and travel enthusiasts, Uko said it was a testament to the fact that travel is back in full swing in Nigeria and on the continent, noting that COVID-19 has kept many people away for more than two years, but now with the world destinations have reopened, people have rediscovered the need to travel again hence the large number of operators from across the continent, especially operators from the east coast of Africa, who were perhaps more numerous than the others. With a focus on medical tourism and health insurance, the event started on a joyous and celebratory note, with exhibitors and attendees welcomed to a pre-event gathering on Sunday, October 30, as a party on the beach was organized in their honor.

It was an occasion that allowed participants to let loose, relax and savor the hospitality of the Nigerians and the rich ambiance of Lagos in addition to its vibrant and high octave nature during the day. It was a most colorful and friendly atmosphere organized by Uko and his Akwaaba team, with the collaboration of Wakanow, a major partner of Akwaaba this year, who provided the drinks and the Wave waterfront at Elegushi, Lekki for the party on the beach while the authorities of the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) provided the food for the occasion.

A most delightful night was with Wakanow General Manager, Adebayo Adedeji and NIHOTOUR General Manager, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, Uko and other leading Nigerian Tour Operators on the ground to welcome and attend to the needs of visitors, ensuring that they had a fulfilling and frolicking time at the beach. And who wouldn’t with NIHOTOUR pulling out all the stops to treat guests to some of the amazing and rare delicacies from Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. It was the best of Nigerian culinary delights that was offered to delight the visitors. Some kinds of mini food fair presented by NIHOTOUR with varieties of cuisines, drinks and snacks from different ethnic groups in Nigeria. Kangiwa described what NITOHOUR attempted to achieve with the mini food fair, as he noted; “In this year’s Akwaaba, we NIHOTOUR tried to explore the platform to showcase our cuisines.

We want the world to know how rich Nigerian cuisines are in terms of nutrition, medicinal properties and more. “We are proud to be associated with Akwaaba, an exhibition with the most successful MICE event in Africa and we congratulate Mr. Ikechi Uko for the 18th edition of the exhibition.”

Indeed, it was a night that many said they will never forget in a hurry as they look forward to re-enacting the memorable again whenever the opportunity arises to visit Nigeria. The next day’s exhibition and conference, Monday, October 31, opened to the applause of exhibitors and attendees, who thronged the venue in droves to witness the diverse and exciting exhibits, captivating destinations and amazing product ranges that were proposed. Apart from the official opening section, which was attended by a number of notable figures from government and private circles, such as the Chief Executive of the National Arts and Culture Council (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the publisher from the Guardian Newspaper, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Femi Adefope, who is one of Nigeria’s leading tour operators, the President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Nkereuwem Onung and the Minister of Tourism and Business of Sierra Leone Memunatu Pratt, as well as the Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, whose royal presence added to the glamor of the day, one of the main features of the day was the awards ceremony for 100 best travel and tourism personalities (Africa Travel 100 Women) in Africa. The awards ceremony showcased some of the best-known women in African tourism who have impacted the sector and their countries in different ways through their various engagements in the sector. They came from the North, South, East, West and Central coasts of Africa, all dressed for the day, showing panache and feminine elegance.

The list of winners included Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism, Prat, Chief Pilot of Ibom Air, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ms Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, the President of the Association of Nigerian Tour Operators (NATOP), Ms. Ime Udo and the Executive Director of Tour Brokers International (TBI), Ms. Odion Chigbufue. Subsequently, a number of conferences took place with youth tourism taking center stage as a number of young operators from across Africa spoke about their foray into the tourism sector, with theme ; Tourism, Passion or Business.

They spoke at length about the challenges and opportunities and what the future holds for them and the continent, while motivating the young aspirants to take up the challenge and join the company to make Africa a destination of choice. Just like the beach party before the event, the dinner that culminated the activities of the first day was great. It was quite an immersive experience in Nigerian culinary offerings, with organizers treating guests to the best of Nigerian cuisine at the Echoes of Calabar restaurant owned by the iconic Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, affectionately known as Mama Bakassi and Mama Carnival Calabar. She personally hosted the dinner alongside Uko, as she treated the guests to colorful and entertaining music, dancing and a cultural display.

The second and final day of the event, November 1st, went off with a bang and exhibitors and attendees started where they left off on the first day. An exciting, colorful and bustling atmosphere permeated the air throughout the day, as the B2B session reached its crescendo, as exhibitors and visitors made a last ditch effort to wrap up their deals.

For Wakanow CEO Adedeji, the immersive B2B sessions over the two days were something incredible, a factor which he says contributed to the huge success of the event this year. He noted that it is for this reason that Wakanow has partnered with Akwaaba and will continue to do so in the years to come as its hopes of growing the industry to greater heights in partnership with other serious operators in Nigeria and across Africa as well as the global industry. One of the main themes of the conference session was medical tourism, which was the theme of the event this year.

A number of medical organizations and professionals presented articles on different aspects of medical tourism, with the Turkey team taking center stage in championing the business of medical tourism, which is now rapidly catching up in their country, Turkey being considered as the third if not the second emerging market for medical tourism in Europe and Asia. In his address, the Director of Turkish Healthcare Travel Council, Abuja Network, Mr. Isa Usman, noted that to boost medical tourism in Africa, sustainable intra- and in-bound medical tourism needs to be developed in the continent for a network robust medical. Company.

Usman said African governments must also thrive to create an enabling environment for health service providers. “As Africans, we need to take seriously the issue of medical negligence, malpractice, medication errors and healthcare fraud,” he said. The Lagos State Government has also taken the opportunity to promote medical tourism in the state, with the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi speaking at length on the subject; Medical Tourism and Lagos: how Lagos is positioning itself for medical tourism, revealing the government’s various efforts and commitments to scale up healthcare delivery as a center of excellence.

Then there was the discussion session on Lagos rising to the status of destination of choice, with Uko as moderator, while the speakers; Edi Lawani, one of the renowned promoters of Nigeria’s entertainment industry, CEO of Wakanow, Adedeji, Managing Director of Eko Hotels and Suites, Danny Kioupouroglou and Dayo Adedayo, one of Nigeria’s renowned photographers, dissected Lagos and expanding into Nigeria, as a top destination, noting some of the things that needed to be done to elevate the status of the destination.

The thought-provoking and insightful speech was for many a fitting way to end the two days of gathering, which were most engaging, immersive, entertaining and fulfilling as well as a discovery of sorts, while for others the icing on the cake the cake was the event of the night; Dinner and dancing on the lagoon of Lagos.

The atmosphere of the night was electrified by the sounds and sights of Lagos over the lagoon. There was plenty to eat and drink, with music of all kinds to dance around and savor the best culinary offerings on display for the night. For people like Fifi Rurangwa, a Rwandan who worked for years in Nigeria in the travel industry, nothing beats Nigerians when it comes to hospitality and entertainment as she noted that Nigerians sure know how to make you feel welcome and relaxed in their midst as they provide you with an incredible and memorable time for life. What a memorable way to end this year’s gathering, which Uko says goes beyond the exhibition, it was more of a holistic experience as people were exposed to and treated to the best of Nigerian hospitality and from Lagos both on land and water. For him, it is this total package this year that has made Akwaaba Africa Travel Market a most successful and attractive event.

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