“When I attended my first Akwaaba African Travel Market expo in 2016, I quickly discovered the so many opportunities it presented to me. So, I just tapped into opportunities presented and they’ve been positive for me and my business!” exclaimed Foluke Abofunrin of Folabod Travel and Tours Limited.
According to over the last 16 years of consistently hosting one of the most successful travel exhibitions in Africa, connecting Nigeria to the world, the Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM) has inspired countless travel and tours business in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Foluke Idowu Abodunrin is one of such success stories. Foluke Abodunrin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Folabod Travels and Tours Limited based in the City of Port Harcourt.
“I got to know about Akwaaba African Travel Market through my work as a NANTA registered Travel Agent operating in Port Harcourt. I didn’t immediately attend, but when I eventually did, it turned out to be the perfect opportunity I needed to push myself and business to another level. And since then, I’ve not looked back!”, she said excitedly.
Foluke Idowu Abodunrin who hails from Ifishin-Ekiti in Ekiti State, Nigeria, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State. She is also an Alumni of National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), a member of the Top 100 Tourism Personalities in Nigeria in 2018.
It is an award which recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves as foremost and outstanding drivers in the travel and tourism industry in Nigeria; and through their efforts and or that of their organizations have impacted positively on the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria, stimulating and helping to achieve the country’s tourism goals and forging interactions among stakeholders and customers across the country.
“It was through my participations in Akwaaba Travel expo that I established contacts with several destinations marketing executives from various countries across Africa and beyond. Particularly, I’ve enjoyed very fruitful relationships with them.
“Through Akwaaba, Dubai Tourism has been able to host two road shows in Port Harcourt. I have also been trained by South Africa as an SA Specialist. I am also a certified Dubai Dubai Tourism Expert after completing the training.
“Of particular mention is South African Tourism and Dubai Tourism Marketing. I’ve enjoyed very robust and beneficial relationship with them.
“Our organization, Folabod Travel and Tours just marked it’s 7th year anniversary, but though the company seems young, I have been in the industry for years before establishing Folabod Travels. I worked in several top travel cocurrent and departments where I handled corporate travel management and tour jobs prior to my company”, Mrs. Abodunrin explains.
Praising the Organizer of Akwaaba for their tenacity and resilience in holding the travel expo every year, Mrs. Foluke revealed that “though our organisations is young, one of the speed points of motivation and inspirations for me have been my association and participation with Akwaaba Travel Market”, she exudes.
“During my earlier years, I did the Nigeria Airways basic, intermediate and Advance Fares and Ticketing Training, I did a Diploma in computer science with Advance Diploma in Air Ticketing and Reservation.
“Prior to founding Folabod Travel and Tours, I equally participated in Lufthansa German Airlines Agent Refund Training.”
Foluke started out her travel business journey at Touchdown Travels –TML, as Head of Operations for Schlumberger In-Plant Office, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; Touchdown Elite Travel limited as Travel Officer, Mobil House, Lekki-Lagos and she also worked at Business Travels International (BTI), ATS Travels Limited, Masum Travels Agency, Jet Travels Limited and Range Travel Agency Limited.
Foluke, with her exceptional skill and capacity for coordinating request details and managing resources coupled with a humble disposition, she has been able to maintain vital relationships which she translate into business profits.
She has effectively nursed her company over the years, and in the process transformed Folabod Travels and Tours into one of the most well recognized Travels and Tours companies in Southern Nigeria.
Her qualities of assurance to deliver requests, creativity and passion for travels and tourism as seen attending several conferences and tours within and outside Nigeria and Africa and she has attended several Trips, Leadership Training and Travel Seminar and excursions extensively including Dubai Tourism familiarization Trip to Dubai for Nigeria Travel Agencies and Tour Operators.
Foluke is the current PRO for National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) Eastern Zone. She is also a member of NANTA’s Training Committee, attesting to her love for knowledge and education as she also holds a Diploma in IATA/UFTAA. She is happily married.
According to her, “Attending Akwaaba Travel Market has remained my yearly commitment and by God’s grace, I shall be attending again this year come November 29th and 30th in Lagos.
The 17th Edition of the Leading Travel and Tourism Expo in West Africa, Akwaaba, will be held on the 29th and 30th of November in Lagos Nigeria.
The event will serve as the venue for the unveiling of the shortlist for the 7 Natural Wonders of Nigeria. The search for the Seven Wonders of Nigeria was launched last year to draw attention to the Tourism Attractions in Nigeria.
According to the Organiser, “Because of the effect of the Covid19 pandemic, Akwaaba is dedicating this Year’s event to Hospitality and the Leisure Economy and their capacity to Heal”, says Mr. Ikechi Uko, organizer of Akwaaba African Travel Market.
The Exhibition will run for 2 Days at Eko Hotel Convention Centre from the 29th of November to the 30th.