The Executive Governor of Cross River State has won the Balafon Award Tourism Man of the Year Award for Nigeria and West Africa. It was a four-man race between him, the Minister of Tourism for Ghana, The Minister of Tourism for the Gambia and Obinna Ekezie the MD of Wakanow. This was based on the results released on Tuesday by the Award committee .
The Balafon Award committee made up of travel professionals and journalists from Nigeria and Ghana approved the results for the best performers in Travel and Tourism West Africa.
The committee had earlier met and shortlisted nominees for the different award categories. The shortlisted Nominees were then exposed to public votes on Atqnews website and Facebook page. The online voting was done using Survey monkey software. Atqnews Facebook page has 23,000 followers and the newsletter has a weekly global audience of over a hundred thousand people. After a robust debate while analysing the results the Award committee approved the results. Winners will be presented with award certificates at Accra Weizo event in Ghana on the 15th of July. From the analysis it is obvious that most of the voters were from Nigeria and Ghana with few other voters from other parts of Africa.
Governor Ayade in his first year in office not only sustained the tradition of Carnival Calabar but raised the bar for the event. His tourism achievements in 12 months in office include the opening of the first monorail in sub-Sahara Africa, Hosting the biggest ever street carnival in Africa last year, setting up Callywood the new movie genre that is rated to be bigger and better than Nollywood. He is also creating new cities in the state. Cross River State prides itself as having created the first authentic international carnival in Africa with participation from Africa and other parts of the World. He introduced the first bikers parade, the first green carnival and delivered the Largest crowd ever seen since carnival began in 2014. These achievements helped Prof. Ben Ayade clinch the double Award in his first Year.
The Balafon Award winnerss by ranking of the results approved by the committee:
1. Best airlines in West Africa: Arik. Asky and Air Peace
2. Top 10 hotels in West Africa: Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos,Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, Intercontinental Hotel Lagos, Labadi Beach Hotel Accra, La Palm royal Beach Hotel Accra,Kairaba Hotel Gambia, Radisson Blu,Hotel Lome, Wheatbakers Lagos, Lou Moon Ghana, MovenPick Ambassador Hotel Accra.
3. Top 10 hotels in Ghana: Labadi Hotel,LaPalm Royal Beach Hotel,Movenpick Ambassador Hotel,Golden Tulip Hotel Accra,Holiday Inn ,African Regent, Kempinski Gold City, Tang Palace, Royal Senchi Resort Akosombo, Lou Moon,
4. Top five hotels in Nigeria: Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos,Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja,
Sheraton Lagos Hotel,Oriental Hotel and Intercontinental Hotel Lagos.
5. Top international airlines in Ghana: Emirates , Ethiopian , Arik .
6. Tourism Man of The Year in Ghana Hon. Elizabeth Ofosu- Adjare, The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Kwame Ofosu Bamfo of Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel Accra and Tourism Ambassador Abeku Santana
7. Tourism Man of The Year – West Africa: HE Prof.Ben Ayade Executive Governor of CRS, Obinna Ekezie CEO of Wakanow Elizabeth Ofosu- Adjare Minister of Tourism Ghana.
8. Aviation Man of The Year in Ghana: Charles Asare CEO of Ghana Airport Company Limited,Gloria Yirenkyi of South Africa Airways Accra and Eric Antwi of Starbow Airlines.
9. Aviation Personality of The Year inWest Africa: Henok Tefferra ,and Allen Onyema 10. Top international airlines into Nigeria: Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates and BA
11. Aviation Personality of The Year in Nigeria: Muneer Alade Bankole MD of Medview Airlines and Allen Onyema MD Air Peace
12. Tourism Man of The Year in Nigeria: HE Prof.Ben Ayade Governor of Cross River State, Obinna Ekezie MD Wakanow, Nkereuwem Onung Natop President
Balafon is the West African Travel Awards instituted many years ago by the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market. It was set up to recognize individuals who have excelled in Tourism and Travel and who also have contributed to the growth of tourism and travels in the region. But from this year 2016 Balafon Awards will become part of Accra Weizo event. The West Africa Award (Balafon) will hold at 5pm
To ensure credibility and transparency in the award selection a multinational committee was set up to shortlist nominees.
Recently, an informal committee meeting with the Ghana members of the Balafon West Africa Travel Awards was held in Ghana to discuss modalities for the Awards coming up at Weizo 2016. Present at the meeting held at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel Accra were Collins Udolu, Ikechi Uko, Jeanne Donkoh former Hotel GM, Cephas Larbi of Daily Guide, Glory Brisbane of Stellar Travels and Abdallah Mohammed of MetroTV.
The committee includes from Ghana, Nancy Sam President of Tour operators union of Ghana, Ahmed Naaman, VP GHATOF, Abeku Santana super Blogger and Ghana Tourism Ambassador, Dominic Andoh of BF&T, Kojo Bentu Williams Tourism PR wiz kid , Bridget Markwe leading Tour Operator and Andrew Boafo Ghana’s most experienced Hotel marketer. Other members from Nigeria include Nkereuwem Onung President of NATOP, Ime Udo, Obinna Emelike, Franklin Ihejirika, Demola Ojo, Okorie Uguru, Omololu Olumuyiwa and Wale Olapade.
Accra Weizo is an event put together by the organizers of Akwaaba African Travel Market with the support of Ghana Ministry of Tourism Culture and Creative Arts. It debuted last year.