Dubai, South Africa, 13 others Arrive Lagos for Akwaaba Tourism Conference

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Demola Ojo

From Sunday October 30 till Tuesday November 1, tourism boards from 15 countries will converge at the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos for the 12th edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market. The tourism conference has also attracted 35 tourism experts who have arrived Lagos to be part of the 3-day travel and tourism exhibition. Akwaaba is an annual tourism exhibition and the preeminent travel fair in West Africa.

Among the countries for this year’s exhibition include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa, Bahrain, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania. Others include Rwanda, Ethiopia, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Benin Republic, Namibia and Togo.

Speakers billed for this year’s event include Richard Aliu Aisuebeogun, Dr. Harold Demuren, Femi Adefope, Chike Ogeah, Capt. Dapo Olumide, Capt. Samuel Thompson, Capt. Mike Omokore and Edwin Yomi Jones. Others are Nkereuwem Onung. Chris Aligbe, Dorcas Aketch, Hon. Anastancia Ndhlovu, Olanma Ojukwu, Dr. Walter Mzebi, Charity Githinji and Ngozi Ngoka.

Other are: Denis Gathanju, Nancy Sam, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Abiola Lawal, Philip Aekesson, Kusha Dutta, Vinod Kaurani, Bob Bamgboye, Rotimi Agboola, Danny Kiouupouroglou, Simon Grindrod, Mike Pinder, Ayo Olowoporoku, Gabe Onah, Madu Chikwendu and Joan Okorodudu.

Sunday is the grand opening of the travel fair with a Travellers Night that includes wine tasting and African Travel Awards and Top 100 Travel Companies in West Africa slated for later in the evening.

Day Two is billed for Aviation Day. Zimbabwe’s Tourism Minister, Dr. Walter Mzembi, will deliver the anchor paper titled, ‘State of Tourism in Africa’, to underscore the relevance of this all important sector.

Tourism has become a very important aspect and source of revenue for many economies on the African continent, creating employments and driving investment, infrastructure and growth. The session will be moderated by Chief Olusegun Runsewe, the former Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).

This year, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Ltd (SAHCOL) will be partnering the Africa Travels Award 2016. SAHCOL is significantly present in all the commercially operated airports in Nigeria, where excellent and speedy services are offered in ramp handling, passenger handling and cargo handling.

According to Chike Ogeah the Vice Chairman of SAHCOL, associating with Africa Travel Award/Travellers night is an opportunity to identify with the growth of travel in Africa.

Friends Fun Wine will also partner the Africa Travel Award/Travellers’ Night. Fun Wine, a canned blend of quality wines, has five flavored drinks available.

British Airways will be giving out prizes daily at Akwaaba as part of its 80th Anniversary with a star prize of a business class ticket to London.

According to the organizer of Akwaaba, Ikechi Uko, the objectives of Africa Travel Award is to celebrate Africans and travel products that have thrived and pioneered different areas of travel and reward excellence in terms of facility management and quality service delivery.

Started in 2008, the African Travel Awards is one of the high points of Akwaaba, drawing distinguished personalities from all over Africa. Winners are first screened by a panel of experts from across Africa and voted for by the general public on www.atqnews.com

Over the years some of the VIPs that have graced Akwaaba include Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Sir Emeka Anyaoku, former Vice President of Nigeria, Chief Alex Ekwueme, Executive Secretary of ATA, Eddie Bergman and a host of other VIPs.

Past recipients awards include former President of Gambia, Sir Dawda Jawara, Dr Danny Jordaan, the CEO of South Africa world Cup LOC, Capt Irene Mutungi, the first lady airline Captain in Africa, Capt Desta Zeru the first African to captain a B787, Capt Chinyere Kalu, the first female pilot in Nigeria and a host of other pioneers in Africa.

There will also be cultural dance displays from various dance troupes from across Africa, music performances and dinner. This year’s event will also feature an ECOWAS Fashion show.

According to Mrs. Joan Okorodudu, the originator of ISIS Model, who has organized various leading international Fashion shows and event, the fashion show will feature top designers from West Africa and top models in Africa. Aimed at promoting travel and tourism through theme; Where Fashion Meets Tourism.