Eko Hotel and Suites opened its doors for the 13th AKWAABA African Travel Market from the 10th of September to the 12th of September; it was a lot of delight and pleasure for the three days. “AKWAABA”: African Travel market is the marketing platform to reach more of West Africa, to meet with airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, state tourism boards, foreign trade and tourism sectors from over 20 countries around the world.
South African Tourism, in addition with Sun International, Batsumi Travel, Makgale Tours, Syavaya Tours and SA Link Tours, Mariott Hotel SA were in attendance and also participated in making the event a huge success. Hloni Pitso, SAT Regional Manager West Africa explained the huge impact AKWAABA has brought to Africa ‘s travel trade and tourism and extended a huge thank you to the founder of AKWAABA, Mr. Ikechi Uko.
“Akwaaba presents a great opportunity for tourism product to engage with travel trade for potential partnerships and collaborations. This year we had just over 200 trade partners who registered at our stand and we are excited at the possibility of new trade partnerships. We also had the opportunity to further meet with industry stakeholders; South African Airways, South African Consulate, NANTA, NATOP, TOUGHA & GTA. Please allow us to also take this opportunity to congratulate all the ladies who made “The Top 100 African Women in tourism”, we appreciate your contributions in the development of our industry. Lastly a big thank you to Mr Ikechi Uko for creating such an important platform to recognize women in tourism and for remaining passionate about the development of African Tourism.”
Also in attendance was NANTA President, Mr Bernard Bankole, NATOP President, Mr. Andrew Nkereuwem and Former SATSA Board Member to discuss tourism partnerships to encourage African tourism and bring real cultural exchange programs into a reality. The annual tourism expo started off with “Chef Challenge”, this event was aimed at promoting West African culinary tourism to an international audience. It hosted chefs from Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria to compete for a jollof rice challenge. We are still wondering who came out on top!
In this year’s edition, Calabar Carnival and Rwanda Cultural Troupe treated guests to adrenaline-charged performances; the dancers came out in full force, and splendour.
The event continued on September 11th with a conference to discuss “One Year Commercial Aviation Accident free” with aviation professionals from global aviation organizations. Later in the day, the “100 African Women in Tourism” award took place, in which women from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Liberia and other countries, were honored. This was an award given by Mr Ikechi Uko of ATQ News.
On the third day, 12th of September, the Youth in Tourism Conference took place, the conference addressed the challenges young people in travel and tourism sector face in promoting domestic tourism in Nigeria. The panel welcomed Mr. Sam Adeleke of Afrotourism, Chiamaka of Social Prefect, Ms. Tosin Ajibade of Olorisupergal, Mr. John Omololu of Travelscope, Mr John Ezeani of Iconnect Tourism Ltd, The Tourism Twins amongst other delegates.
It was a pleasant and eye-opening opportunity for African travel trade market to meet, network, discuss, negotiate businesses with one another.