The Wonders of Africa Zoom Conference which threw up a lot of excitement among tourism enthusiasts last year 2020 resumed with renewed vigour from stakeholders after a long pause.
The Wonders of Africa Zoom Conference was created to inspire intra-African travel, while revitalizing and revolutionizing the tourism industry on the continent and encouraging domestic tourism in the continent.
The zoom conference kicked off with the organiser, Ambassador Ikechi Uko, welcoming participants to the first edition for the year 2021. Mr Uko who is also the organiser of Akwaaba, African Travel Market, the biggest travel trade show in West Africa urged stakeholders to adhere to the COVID19 safety protocols put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking at the maiden edition for the year, General Manager, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigeria, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, who took participants through various destinations in Nigeria and Africa, hinted that the country has a lot of amazing tourism sites that could drive the growth of the sector but is still plague with lack of proper packaging of its tourists attractions.
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Oketunbi who is also a former aviation and travel writer with the Guardian Newspaper and a well-travelled industry figure, highlighted four of his favourite attractions – Calabar, Abuja, Johannesburg, South Africa and Cairo in Egypt.
According to him, the city of Calabar which is his first choice destination in the country has some of the amazing attractions that are second to none. He said, Calabar has a lot of historic and cultural attractions that tourists could explore.
Oketunbi in his expose pointed out that the town, Calabar is adorned with beauty, complimented by a serene environment. He added that Calabar is synonymous with cleanliness adding that it was one of the features that endeared him to the city.
He noted that Calabar was once the colonial headquarters of Nigeria, before it was moved to Lagos. He highlighted the Mary Slessor statue, Carnival Calabar, wildlife and local delicacies and international cuisines as some of the attractions to explore in the state.
His second destination of choice was the Federal Capital territory, Abuja. According, Abuja is not a serious destination per say but has the potential for tourism. He said the city has good road network with amazing hotels that is suitable conferencing and for business travellers.
Johannesburg, a city in South Africa was listed as his third favourite destination. He noted that the city has a lot of attractions built on a rich history like the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, Soweto & the Mandela Museum, adding that it is also famous for shopping.
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Oketunji added Cairo as his fourth destination. Cairo according to him, has a lot of entertainment to explore for tourism. He said Giza an Egyptian city on the west bank of the Nile is an amazing sight to behold. He pointed out that one of the most striking features of the city is the peaceful co-existence between the Coptic Christians and the Muslims.
Speaking at the conference, Chairman, GHI Assets, Nigeria, Mr. Olufemi Adefope stated that he started travel in 1979 and has been a pioneer of many businesses in the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria.
Mr Adefope said Lagos is his first tourism destination in Nigeria. He said Lagos is a premium tourism and business destination and a place to live. He added that it is a place that continues to evolve and allows for investment in tourism and tourism sites. According to him, Lagos has a lot of attractions like the famous Oshodi market which used to have the largest convergence of human beings at a spot.
Adefope stated that the state has lots tourism attractions to endear fun seekers, noting that tourism lovers could explore its beaches, yachting, game fishing, and the famous Nike Art Gallery.
The ancient city of Kano came up as the veteran’s second destination of choice. Mr Adefope listed Tiga Dam, as an outstanding creation that is outside Kano. The ambiance is site is attractive and makes tourists throng there often. A hotel that is located at the base of the dam, called the Rock Castle Hotel.
When it comes to Africa, Mr Adefope highlighted Cape Town, in South Africa as the third destination of choice. According to him, his first visit to the city was in 1992 accompanied by his wife.
He stated that Cape Town affords tourist several places to visit like the Robin Island, Table Mountain, Bird’s Nest Stadium built for the World Cup, Groot Constantia: a wine lover’s paradise, Boulders beach, a site for quirky penguins, V&A Waterfront. He said Cape Town was a perfect destination for wedding and golfing.
His most favourite destination is Kigali in Rwanda. According to him, the city is like a phoenix that has risen out of the hashes. Kigali, he said is the cleanest city in Africa and probably second to Singapore in the world. He stated that Kigali is safest city in Africa. He added that Kigali has a lot of hotels, conference centre, amazing wildlife experience, and tourism attractions like gorilla naming.