Photos: Food, Culture, Tourism At 14th Akwaaba African Travel Market

The 14th edition of West Africa’s biggest Tourism Expo started with a ground opening ceremony held at the Eko Hotel in Lagos Nigeria.

The event seeks to connect Africa to the World with great products with a platform for business networking, technical and practical knowledge towards development in the industry and trade sales worth millions were negotiated by the exhibitors and investors.

The ongoing expo with trade exhibitors, destination, Management Companies, among others represented their outfits.

These companies include Ghana Tourism Authority, Kaya Tours, Dodi Travel, Destination connect, Zaina Lodge, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Namibia, South Africa, Brokers International, Airport West Hotel among other prolific firms.

Participate who exhibited their stands to other Africa countries expressed their culture, tourism and other great expectation when participants visit and spend the time visiting their country.

Food fair was also displayed with representatives from Ghana, Gambia, and Nigeria. As Ghanaian food stand tall among others.

With the rift between Ghana and Nigeria Jollof, these two countries displayed their foods as the invited guest, patrons had to try the greatest jollof rice on the day.

Many dashed to the Ghanaian table as they took their plates to enjoy Ghanaian delicacies displayed.

Over 23 countries are participating, Kaya Tours will be picking an award listed among the top 100 tour operators in Africa.

HISTORY OF AKWABA AFRICAN TRAVEL MARKET…

Akwaaba African Travel Market came at a time the West Africa travel market and tourism industry developments, innovations, challenges, and untapped travel and tourism potentials were unnoticed to the broader global communities. West Africa, a region with 270 million people, numerous airports and hotel chains, and the largest number of travelers in Africa.

The first Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) was held in Lagos in 2005. It came as a result of the rebranding of the name of the Travelers Awards and Exhibitions, which was launched in 2004. Subsequent editions have been held in Lagos. On why the name Akwaaba, Ikecji Uko, organizer, explained: We wanted a welcome name for Africa because we are hosting the event in Nigeria., so we chose a non- Nigerian word to represent Africa. We either had to choose JABAMA or AKWAABA. Akwaaba has its origin from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. It means welcome.

In 2005- 2008 From the participation of two countries, Ghana and Sao Tome, coming to Nigeria for the event in the debut year in 2005 to increasing number of active exhibitors and participants from other African countries in subsequent editions, Akwaaba African Travel Market is widely seen as the main designated travel market in Africa

In 2009 the 5th edition was held at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos from 24th -25th October with 15 participating African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, and Gambia. Various organizations in the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors from these countries were exhibitors. Guests included former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; former president of Gambia, Sir. Dauda Jawara; former vice-president of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekweume; the Director- General of Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Segun Runsewe and the governor of Cross River state, Senator LIyel Imoke.

In 2010 the 6th edition drew exhibitors from major airlines, travel agencies, hotels and tourism companies. Africa Travel Association (ATA) and the World Bank also participated. The event was opened by the former president of the Gambia, Sir. Dawda Jawara. Other guests were former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; CEO of FIFA World Cup 2010 DR. Danny Jardaan; the Secreatry- General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, prof. Zahi Hawass; first female airline captain, Irene MUtungi of Kenya airways and ministers of tourism from African countries.

In 2012 the 8th edition of AFTM drew an impressive number of exhibitors, participants, delegates and guests. With 20 participating African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Morocco and the Gambia. Participants and exhibitors were also from the USA, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates (UAE). The events featured award ceremony in the categories of Africa legends ( in the industry), aviation and hospitality. The second day of the travel market was for exhibition and conference, majorly in the aviation sector. The third day was the hospitality day. Exhibitors showcased their brands, products and services to the investors, buyers and public. It was a networking session matching buyers and exhibitors for quick business meetings. 

In 2016 With over 20 participating countries and over 10,000 visitors, the 10th edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market was a three-day event with increased number of exhibitors and visitors feedbacks and increased sales trade during the exhibition for exhibiting companies and organizations.

The event was declared open by the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality of Zimbabwe, Annastacia Ndlouv. Event features included wine tasting, exhibitions in the aviation and hospitality sectors, African Business Travel Association ( ABTA) workshop and various countries/ states day celebrations, where the culture, food and tourist attractions were showcased.

In 2017 the 13th edition revamped with new event features an awards category. Awards were given to one hundred African women in the travel industry. On why The Award was instituted, the organizer, Ikechi Uko said “Seventy percent of people working in the tourism are women, twenty percent are in the management position. Regrettably, only a paltry five percent of this huge figure could be found in the decision making positions.

The Award is to encourage them to continue to strive for excellence in driving economic growth to Africa through tourism and the travel industry’’. Akwaaba chef challenge and Food fair 2017 were new event features during the 13th edition. The culinary event was aimed to promote culinary tourism from West Africa to the world.

About Edward Blagogee

Check Also

Photos: “Develop Tourism, South Africa Minister Charges African Countries”

South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom has called for the improvement of tourism products ...