Travel stakeholders welcome Akwaaba’s return African Travel Market
The occasion sparked excitement and celebration as ‘tribes’ made a return to familiar gathering huts like Akwaaba African Travel Market, the annual travel and tourism conference and trade show hosted by Ikechi Uko. opened to the public with a host of travel and tourism operators from across the attendance division.
The last time the centerpiece of the trip was in 2019 with the COVID-19 epidemic, preventing the holding of the forum that has served over the years as a true platform for travel stakeholders in the public and private sectors. in Nigeria and Africa come together to showcase the product and service lines of their various destinations, share ideas and network for a better harvest of the gains from travel to Africa.
This year’s meeting, which was the 17th edition, lasted for two days, November 29-30 instead of the traditional three days. While the ambiance and colors of the two-day gathering may not have rekindled the usual magical momentum and allure that came with it, it did not take away the excitement and joys that he generated.
For many participants, it was a pleasant moment and a joy to meet again to revive tourism somewhat following the effect of COVID-19, which is still very present on the horizon, especially with the discovery of a new variant. , the Omicron, just on the eve of the meet, many exhibitors, both inside and outside the country’s coasts, had to stay back as countries again reflected on restrictions on trips.
The rally had a rich outline with the first day off to a good start as the official opening ceremony was performed by Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, who is the president and editor of the Guardian Media Group. Other special guests in attendance included the Director General of the National Arts and Culture Council (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Nkereuwem Onung, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Ms. Susan Akporiaye and one of the main travel personalities in Nigeria, Femi Adefope.
It is noteworthy that this year’s exhibition has registered a number of regular big names who over the years have found the annual gathering a veritable harvest ground to meet with travel buyers and sellers as well as the public. distinguished traveler.
The list included Dubai Tourism, which delighted attendees with several freebies despite not having in its ranks a procession of exhibitors and other materials due to COVID-19, South Africa Airways, which is recently returned to the skies, Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir, Egypt Air, Wakanow, NCAC, NATOP, NANTA, Monty Suites, Alicia Hotel Group from Accra, Ghana, Lagos State Government, Savory and Partners, Universal School of Aviation , AyHomes, Comfort Group and Enish Restaurant and Lounge. Besides the exhibition and skills training sessions organized by the NCAC, which attracted a crowd of Nigerian youth, two important conferences were held, with the first session on Youth Tourism, moderated by the one of Nigeria’s award-winning travel journalists, Obinna Emelike of Businessday Newspaper.
He offered the young panel of tour operators; Chiamaka Obuekwe, CEO of Social Prefect Tours, Bolaji Seun of Naija Explorers, Dr. Onifade Adekunle Eedris of Universal Aviation School, Aminat Akanbi, CEO of Triplisters, Cordis Marianuela Umeokoli, CEO of Mardis Travels, Sam Adeleke of TravelwithSamGlobal Sunday and Omotaybenga Idere Hills developer in Oyo State; opportunity to talk about their operations in terms of interim milestones, challenges, opportunities and benefits accumulate over time. While the second roundtable on; Outbound Tours and Travel Tears, by a panelist of notable and experienced tour operators consisting of; David Lamidi, Co-Founder, Diamond and Pearl Travels, Shalom Asuquo-Ankoh, Travel Lab, Cecile Doumbe from CMD Tours and Gbenga Onitilo from Wakanow, with the Vice President of the Association of Tour Operators of Nigeria (NATOP) and the Coordinator from the Lagos Federation of Nigeria Tourism Associations (FTAN), Ime Udo, as moderate. It was an inspiring, insightful and eye-opening moment as these established names in the Nigerian travel industry have used their experiences over the years to talk about the overseas travel industry, in terms of prospects and challenges as well as how some of the basic challenges can be overcome while challenging the Nigerian government and other stakeholders in the travel value chain to rise to the occasion. The day ended on a happy note with a training session on the Nigerian Tourism Specialist Course (NTSC) organized by Akwaaba in collaboration with the National Hospitality and Tourism Institute (NIHOTOUR).
It was a stimulating and eye-opening session with a number of delegates and travel journalists exposed through the various teachings and paper presentations on different aspects of the journey with particular reference to Nigeria. The second and final day of the conference and exhibition started on a friendly note with the celebration of some of the operators by members of the Naija 7 Wonders team who achieved higher nominations, marked their birthdays and won. prices during the year.
The list included the CEO of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, Piriye and Ikechi Uko. Afterwards, the event gathered momentum with an opening speech by special guest of the day, Kangiwa, who was represented by NIHOTOUR Academic Secretary Philip Maga. He spoke on the subject; How to adapt hotel training to meet international standards.
FTAN’s Board Chairman, Chief Samuel Alabi followed suit with his presentation on; The limits of state regulation of tourism and hospitality, with giving it a historical perspective of legal provisions for the tourism sector and dissecting state laws as they affect tourism in terms of their powers and limitations as well as what must be done for some of these limitations must be overcome for the benefit of tourism businesses across the country. Hospitality Day, which was a regular feature of Akwaaba but has rested for the past four years, made a comeback this year with a panel speech on; The role of the hotel industry in the leisure economy and the revival of tourism.
The speech of the day was moderated by Ms. Justina Ovat, who is the Vice-President of FTAN, South-South. Panel members included: Tana Forsuelo from the Wavecrest School of Hospitality and Victor Kayode from the Nigerian Hotel and Catering Institute (NHCI) while FTAN Senior Vice President Alhaji Aliyu Badaki concluded the speech with a lecture on; State registration and hotel classification.
The top 20 venues shortlisted for the Seven Wonders of Nigeria Project by the Naija7 Wonders team were unveiled and certificates awarded to some of the selected venues. The final seven wonderful sites would be selected later through a public voting process, while the chosen sites would be presented to the public and awarded with certificates in an official ceremony. The two-day meeting culminated with the presentation of the Lagos State Government, with the final hours devoted to Lagos Day, with State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture Ms Uzamat Akinbile – Yusuf and the permanent secretary of the ministry, Princess Adenike Adedoyin – Ajayi, leading the crowd as the state takes the public through some of its tourism projects. What a great and fun way to end Akwaaba’s African travel market this year, with the organizer, Uko expressing his gratitude to all guests, exhibitors and traveling public, with the promise that the 2022 event, which is planned for September it the traditional reception date, will be better and bigger, with all the features and exhibitors present.