As part of the measures to enhance tourism in Africa , Akwaaba Africa travel market, the only international travel market In West Africa, held its 10th annual African fair last week at Eko hotels and suites, Lagos Nigeria amidst the ebola crisis in the region.
According to Anaemena Chinenye who was there for ATQ News, the fair recorded just over thirty four exhibitors from the tourism, travel and hospitality industry around Africa. This is against the backdrop of many cancellations and withdrawals by many international exhibitors who thought Nigeria was unsafe because of the Ebola crisis.This is after WHO declared Nigeria Ebola Free.
The event was formally declared open by the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban development Mrs Akon Eyakenyi, who also, officiated the award presentation, The event was graced by Socialites,Dignitaries and Industry leaders.The Calabar carnival band association leader, Senator Florence Ita Giwa and the chairman Carnival commission Mr Gabe Onah represented the winners of the best Event in West Africa that was won by Carnival Calabar.
The Minister commended the coordinator of the event for his passion and efforts to strengthen tourism in Nigeria and Africa, while relating the importance of her ministry to the tourism sector, which is ensuring safe housing, land for tourists, and residents in the country.
Africa’s first female Airline captain and the first female to captain the new Boeing 787 dreamliner in the world from Kenya Airways, Captain Koki Mutungi received an award of the Global legend of travel; The GM Eko hotels and suites Mr Danny Kioupouroglou was honoured the best hotel manager of the year in West Africa along with Adrian Landry of Legacy hotels. Ethiopian airline was honoured as the African airline of the year and the Best African airline to West Africa; La Campagne Tropicana beach resort received an award as the best beach resort in West Africa; Obudu mountain resort as the best resort in West-Africa; Cape Town airport as the most passenger friendly airport South-Africa; Bole airport Addis Ababa, as the most passenger friendly airport East-Africa; South African tourism as the best tourism market agency in Africa; Arik airline as the best airline in West Africa; Asky Airline as the best short haul carrier in Africa and the best Short haul airline in West Africa. Protea Hotel was awarded the best African Hotel chain and Dorcas Aketch won the Balafon Award of excellence. The high point of the ceremony was the award by Nigerian Women in Aviation led by Mrs Ify Megwa on Capt Koki. Mrs Megwa described Capt Koki as an inspiration to young women all over Africa. After receiving her award Capt Koki promised to use her foundation to inspire more girls in Africa.
The award winning Nigerian musician BEZ performed to the delight of the audience which included the scion of the richest family in West Africa Olorogun Oscar Ibru.
After the Award dinner on day one october 26 the event continued with the exhibitors where showcasing their products and services to guests and participants until the 3rd day and final day of the event October 28.Rwanda airline won the most outstanding exhibition stand of the year. The Business travel seminar took place on the 27th while hospitaliday workshop and wine tasting took place on the 28th.
The event was security and Ebola compliant with Temperature scanners used by the Hotel and Hand sanitisers provided by the organisers for all exhibitors and visitors on account of the Ebola virus crisis affecting some countries in west Africa and for other infectious diseases and prevention of violence and disorder in the premises.
The prime mover of the event Mr Ikechi-Uko described the event a huge success considering the odds faced by the organisation in the face of the huge economic losses faced by the whole industry. He described what is happenning with Ebola as the worst Calamity that has faced African Tourismin the last 100 years.Ebola crisis has almost crippled businesses and made nations unstable.