The Organisers of West Africa’s leading Travel fair Akwaaaba have spoken about their plans for this years event amidst the fear of EVD in the region.
According to the organiser Rita Ikechi Uko “we are deeply touched by the high number of victims both dead and infected and do sincerely commiserate with the people of the region that have suffered the disease and the attendant stigmatization that is currently ongoing against the besieged Countries. It is our belief that Africans must stand by their brothers in this hour of their need ,this is not the time to abandon anyone and race to the bottom as we are currently doing.
Akwaaaba 2014 offers an opportunity to stand in solidarity with our industry which is currently the most ravaged in the region. With airlines most of them exhibitors at Akwaaba loosing billions of Dollars due to EVD and most hotels in the region empty Akwaaba 2014 will be an opportunity to rekindle hope in travel business. With gloom all over the travel and tourism sector it is not time to roll over and die. The tourism community must fight back,we have to continue in providing services to the best standards expected of us even if it is to a few persons.As Organisers we want to reassure our exhibitors that we will observe all the rules established by the Federal ministry of Health and the Lagos state government for such events. These rules include use of Thermometer Guns to scan all visitors,the use of hand Sanitisers for visitors and frequent hand washing. We will also restrict attendance to only registered persons.
So far these rules have helped Nigeria contain the EVD. The last Ebola patient in Lagos was discharged on Thursday 11th September and the Schools in Nigeria will open on the 22nd of September and Akwaaba is on the 26-28 October .
It is the hope of the Organisers that the countries of Liberia,Guinea and Sierra Leone will also contain the spread of the disease.
Ebola will not be the first time disaster will strike close to Akwaaaba. The Bellview crash in 2004 happened a week before Akwaaba. The event still held with every exhibitor and visitor wearing a black Arm band to the event In solidarity with the dead.
To this end all Exhibitors to this years event will be expected to wear a black Arm band”
This is as One of Africa’s emerging destination, Uganda will be showcasing in West Africa For the first time, Uganda will be joining other big African Tourism players –South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Gambia in their aggressive marketing plans to increase the number of visitors to their countries from West-Africa by showcasing at the most successful and largest platform in the region.
With the growth of Intra African travel and incessant and sometimes irritating travel advisories from Western Nations marketing within African is becoming a regular feature for most forward looking tourism boards.
Tourism which is Uganda’s main export, fetched over $1.4billion in 2013/2014 financial year (Central Bank of Uganda). This growth could be attributed to intensified Marketing & Promotion of the Country both domestically and Internationally.Exhibiting at Akwaaba this year, the pearl of Africa will be inviting Visitors to experience this pristine Destination.
Akwaaba: African Travel Market in Lagos,Nigeria is the only International and the largest Travel and Trade Exhibition in West- Africa. Akwaaba’s strategic positioning within the region-West-Africa with over 300 million people with a growing purchasing power,40 Airports and Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa all present fact which makes Akwaaba an important and must attend Travel and Trade Marketing platform within the region.
Voted as among the top 20 global Destinations to visit by National Geographic, Uganda is Africa condensed, with the best of everything the continent has to offer packed in a small but stunning Destination. Where East African Savannah meets with the West-African Jungle, Snow capped Mountains bear down on sprawling jungles. Home to half of the World’s surviving Mountain Gorillas; half of Africa’s Bird Species, Waterfalls and the source of the River Nile, Hot springs, Forest and National Parks, Uganda is truly gifted by Nature
According to the organizer of Akwaaba, Mrs. Rita Ikechi Uko, “the participation of top Destinations at Akwaaba, shows Akwaaba relevance within the region. These are countries whose economies thrive on Tourism and are experienced at Marketing and Promotion of Tourism because they have been doing this for a long time. We are expecting more Tourism Stakeholders to key into this by not just participating at Akwaaba but also to network and learn from these Tourism Boards”.
This year’s event will hold from the 26th-28th of October, 2014 at the Convention Center, Eko Hotels and Suites and will feature Exhibition, Wine Tasting, Aviation & Hospitality Day, African Business Travel Association (ABTA) Workshop and various Country/State Day Celebrations.
This is as one of Africa’s leading Destinations, Kenya announced extending its reach to Lagos Nigeria come October. In view of the recent facts which put Nigerians as one of the largest Travellers in Africa and the biggest Economy in the continent the Kenya Tourism Board is set to lure more Nigerians to visit Kenya.
An aggressive push by Kenya into West Africa will see them exhibit at the only and largest International Trade and Tourism Fair in West Africa Akwaaba.
Kenya known for its rich wildlife and modern lifestyle received 15,029 Nigerians in 2012, out of this figure, Business and conference Visitors accounted for some, while more people came for Holidays. Magical Kenya intends to showcase and promote Kenya’s rich savannah and timeless culture which has remained unchanged by the modern world. Pristine beaches and coral reef, equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains, searing deserts, cool highland retreats and endless opportunities for adventure, discovery and relaxation. No other country on earth can offer a visitor as much to see and do within the borders of a single Country says KTB.
Kenya will be exhibiting as a country for the first time as they attended last year’s event as observers.
The Gambians have announced that the Gambian Delegation will be led by the DG of GTB-Mr Benjamin Roberts.
Akwaaba: African Travel Market is a marketing platform which aims to not only showcase Africa to the world but also connect Africans by encouraging Africans to travel often as well as to visit other African Destinations. One of the ways it has done this is the Country Day Celebrations which affords countries a dedicated period within the fair to showcase their Food, Culture and Destinations to visitors.
In 2013, the Rwandans stole the show as the Rwandan cultural troupe stunned the audience by their electrifying performance at the Fair.
Akwaaba holds annually in October drawing attendance of over 15,000 delegates from over 20 countries worldwide and the largest platform to meet with Travelling Public, Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, State Tourism Boards, Foreign Trade and Tourism sectors and similar industry suppliers across Africa.
One of the highlights of this year event is the Hotel Innovations seminar and Hospitality Day @ Akwaaba
This is because One of the biggest challenges faced by the Hotel Business in West-Africa is Competition and so the 10th edition of Hospitality Day @ Akwaaba will be dedicated to showing Hotel Managers how they can stay ahead of Competition, using the latest technology to drive sales and retain clients.
With rapidly growing Economies, foreign direct investments and an increasing number of Africans who are having more disposable incomes and moving into the Middle Class income group, the Hospitality Industry in Africa is full of opportunities. However, with more interest shown by the International and Regional chains in expanding in Africa especially in Nigeria with about 49 hotels (7,470 rooms) scheduled to open by 2017 coupled with the existing hotels and a number of smaller Hotels and Guest Houses opening every now and then, the challenge for Hotels to stay in business will be high.
The Workshop themed “Hotel Innovation : Being One Step ahead” will include Experts from Israel, Dubai, UK, Germany and Nigeria with a panel made up of GM’s of Top International and Regional Hotel chains in Nigeria. There will also be a Keynote Speech on “Investing in the Hospitality Business between the Known and the Unknown.
The Workshop is aimed at raising the Hotel Standards in West-Africa and will have in attendance over 100 Hotel Managers, Hotel Management Companies in Nigeria and Africa as well as Hotel Investors and other Stakeholders.
The issues that would be addressed include, use of Social Media, Software for Hotels Hardware/Amenities, Services, Data Mining (Big Data) and the latest Hotel Apps.
The forum will hold on the 28th of October, 2014, the last day of Akwaaba, at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria- Island, Lagos from 10am-1pm. It will be rounded off with a Wine Tasting extravaganza.
The Africa Travel Awards which is one of the highlights of Akwaaba will be honoring deserving individuals in the Tourism and Travel Industry in Africa, one of which is the Esther Mwange-Rwandan First female pilot.
Capt. Irene Koki Mutungi will also be honoured by Women in Aviation (Nigeria) International-Glowing Wings Chapter in partnership with Akwaaba.
Capt. Irene Koki Mutungi is the first Woman in the World to captain the World’s newest Plane -the Boeing B787 Dream liner and will yet again receives recognition for her pioneering role in Africa’s Aviation Industry. She was recognized at Akwaaba in 2009 as the first African Lady Captain of a Commercial Airliner.
Women in Aviation, International with headquarters’ in the USA, is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the advancement of women in all Aviation career field and interests with over 10,000 Professionals all over the world.
According to the President of the Glowing Wings Chapter- Mrs Ify Megwa who would be leading her Chapter to the fair “We deemed it fit to honour one of our own, Capt. Irene has accomplished a feat no female has ever attained in Africa. In doing this, we are not only recognizing her for been exceptional, we hope this will encourage more females to reach extraordinary heights in their Aviation careers and also encourage young women to consider aviation as a career too. So, we couldn’t think of a better medium to present this award to her other than Akwaaba, a credible platform that has consistently honored pioneers in Africa over the years”.
This comes as one of Ghana’s leading Hotel Group-Golden Beach Hotels announced the launching of their multimillion dollars refurbished La Palm Beach Resort, Accra at the largest Travel and Tourism event in West-Africa.
La Palm once the hotel of choice for all top class visitors to Ghana is undergoing massive changes to its rooms and facilities. With the opening of new hotels the owners decided to respond by closing parts of the hotel for total enhancement.
These changes will include Refurbishment of the frontage of the hotel. Already the reception has been refurbished and will soon be reopened. The swimming pool floor tiles are being changed to fibre optics making La Palm the first hotel in Accra to have this.
There will a new addition, the executive Clubroom with exclusive features. Almost all the bedrooms in the hotel are now tastefully refurbished. The continental Restaurant is also refurbished to include polished floor tiles with new lights and these will be ready for the seafood festival.
After all the changes training and retraining of staff coupled with new activities to further strengthen the tenets of quality service delivery.
The appearance of La Palm at Akwaaba will further enhance the international offerings at the fair this year.
Wine Tasting at Akwaaba
Nigeria is accepted globally as one of the biggest Wine markets in the world consuming more than many African countries put together. The emerging lifestyle merges with the growing middle class and its taste for global products. Travel and tourism is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this new class of Nigerians. It is these classes of Nigerians that are traveling that also consume these large quantities of wine and Champagne.
To further organize the products and align it with its patrons the organizers of Akwaaba African Travel market will this year dedicate its hospitality day October the 28th to wine tasting. The wine tasting day is a new addition and will offer both sellers and buyers the opportunity to engage with the Traveling public.
The Wine Tasting event which will hold on the 28th of Oct 2014 from 10am-6pm at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suite, Victoria-Island, Lagos, Nigeria, will provide Wine Distributors and Manufacturer from all over the world, who are looking to increase their business in Nigeria and across Africa, Build and increase brand loyalty and patronage, the opportunity to showcase their products to the travel community/ Wine Lovers in Nigeria & Africa. The Wine tasting event will feature a diverse selection of Top wines and Spirits from all over the world.
Speaking on the Event, Mrs.Rita Ikechi Uko-Organizer of Akwaaba: African Travel Market says “Nigeria is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the biggest Champagne Market in Africa.
We are always looking for ways to create and add value to our clients as well as improve visitors’ experience at our events. So, the Wine Tasting event was born out of the need to create a proper platform for bringing together Wine Buyers and Sellers from all over the world, an audience Akwaaba has consistently attracted over the years. With “big Taste experience” we hope to not only provide a platform for Wine Dealers and Producers to sample their wines but also provide an atmosphere where guests can sip, savour, mix and mingle while enjoying the best of what Africa has to offer and it’s a project we intend to continue and build in the next coming years”.
Attendees to the fair would have the opportunity to sample different top wines and Spirits from Exhibiting Wine Dealers and Manufactures from all over the World.
Attendance is free.