At a recent rousing reception at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, Ghana, awardees of the 2017 African Travel Times Magazine received their awards at a colourful ceremony.

The event was witnessed by a teeming number of guests from both the public and private sectors.

Those present to receive their awards were, Roman Krabel, General Manager, Accra City Hotel, Accra, Ghana and Paul Kavanagh, General Manager, Golden Tulip Hotel, Accra, Ghana. Both men have been working in West Africa for almost 10 years; and Ini Akpabio, Managing Director, NANET Hotel Limited, Nigeria.

Representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana also attended the exciting ceremony, which held the audience spellbound.

Meanwhile, Onung Nkereuwem, Managing Director, Remlords Group, owners of Remlords Tours and Car Hire, who is also National President of Nigeria Association of Tour Operators [NATOP] and first Deputy President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN] and Chief Samuel Alabi, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Eko Hotel Limited, who both could not make it for the awards ceremony proper, will receive their awards in Nigeria at a later date.

The 2017 event marked African Travel Times Magazine’s fourth awards edition, but the first time a formal ceremony was organised and executed outside Nigeria, It witnessed a revealing presentation by Nseobong Okon-Ekong, Editor, Glitterati, Thisday Newspaper, Nigeria on the “Role of Entertainment, Arts and Culture in the Marketing, Promotion and Development of Tourism in West Africa”.

Okon-Ekong noted that without deliberate efforts by government and the private sector in the sub-region to harness the aforementioned potential, West Africa will continue to lag behind in achieving its full tourism potential. He argued that the tourism sector was not taking advantage of visitors at big pan-African entertainment platforms like the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), Felabration and the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). These, he argued were huge entertainment properties can generate capital for tourism. He said West Africa has entertainers like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Angelique Kidjo, Osibisa and Ramblers International Dance Band whose individual and collective heritage can be exploited for tourism.

On his part, David Nana Anim, Chairman of the occasion and President of Ghana Tourism Federation [GHATOF], praised Lucky Onoriode George, Publisher and Editor, African Travel Times Magazine for his bold and courageous efforts in sustaining the publication as well as also finding time to spot excellence in the industry.

Nana Anim therefore, assured the publisher of his personal and GHATOF support in future events.

The chairman noted that he’s looking forward to working and collaborating in any capacity with the magazine as well as the publisher whenever he’s called upon.

Also speaking, Paul and Roman general managers of Golden Tulip and Accra City Hotels, respectively took time to go down memory lane on how they both came to West Africa through Nigeria; 10 years ago.

Similarly, Ini Akpabio, Managing Director, NANET Hotels Limited spoke on how the sector has created millions of jobs and can even provide more across the region if tourism development is taken as a key economic sector, rather than for mere entertainment instruments for visitors among others.

Akpabio attended the awards ceremony in company of wife, Lizzy in a colourful Nigerian attire.

African Travel Times Magazine is Nigeria and West Africa’s only monthly travel and tourism magazine, which initiated the awards in 2014 to annually recognise ‘Excellence’ in the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria, West Africa and beyond.

George said that the genuine and respected award in the industry was long overdue, especially in an industry that is service based.

He noted that, “Asking the travelling public that lack the technicality and experience of how the travel and tourism industry works to select the best hotel, restaurant and even the best airline in an operating environment annually, is wrong”.

He posited that, “It is the process that differentiates his publication’s awards from others, as awardees are selected by professionals in the various sub-sectors”.

African Travel Times hit the newsstand in 2011 and has grown to become the most widely and authoritative travel and tourism publication in Nigeria, with an online www.africantraveltimes.com presence that can be accessed everywhere in the world.

African Travel Times apart from being a core travel and tourism industry magazine, the coverage also includes ‘Insider’, a destination piece written from a local or native point of view [can also be written ‘as told to], as well as ‘fascinating people’, an article profiling persons of interest in the industry in any part of Nigeria and Africa.

The event was anchored by a renowned Nigerian broadcaster and film critic, Theo Akatugba.