Tourism: NATOP Board chairman, Nkereuwem Onung hails successful Akwaaba African Travel Market 2020

Onung Nkereuwem

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Tour Operator Association of Nigeria (NATOP), Mr. Nkereuem Onung has congratulated the organiser of West Africa largest travel fair, Akwaaba African Travel and Tourism Market, Amb. Ikechi Uko and his team for organising a successful virtual conference.

In a message released by Mr. Onung, who is the Managing Director of Remlords Tours, he stated “I wish to congratulate the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market on the successful virtual hosting of its 4th African Travel and Tourism Conference on MICE and for being the first Pan-African expo to successfully host its virtual event.

“Even though, the face to face Akwaaba experience for the past 15 years cannot be replicated, I commend your hard work, sacrifice and individual efforts in successfully hosting this year’s event despite the global disruption occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

It was an exceptional outing both in the expertise of speakers and intellectual quality of the conference,” Onung said.

In conclusion, he added that “while we await for things to gradually return to normal in the tourism industry, I urge us all to stay hopeful and make the best of every situation.” 

It will be recalled that several major travel and tourism fairs across the globe had to be cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the 15th edition of Akwaaba African Travel and Tourism Market held successfully with the theme:  Is MICE a Viable Pathway for Tourism Recovery in Africa?

The MICE Conference had a brief appearance by former Minister of Tourism of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange who was the Special Guest of Honour.

Lead Speaker, Rick Taylor gave a detailed presentation of the MICE industry, tracing the history to 1714 in Philadelphia, when a group of carpet makers came together.

At the beginning of his presentation, Rick lit a candle and then went on to explain to the audience that, he did that to show that “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

The highlight of Rick’s presentation was a hinged on the belief that MICE or “Business events are not dead,” but that “they need to change.”

According to statistics provided by him, face-to-face meetings generate up to 14 ideas per hour, while virtual generate half of that.

Also, 85% of people believe f2f contributes to stronger, and more meaningful relationships. The future of MICE has to be more results-oriented and that Victory is certain.

Also contributing was, Nelly Mukazayire of the Rwanda Convention, CEO of South Africa Tourism (SAT) Sisa Ntshona, the Deputy CEO of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Bradford Ochieng, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman and the CEO of Kenya Convention Bureau, Jacinta Nzioka. 
Akwaaba African Travel Market 2020 continues tomorrow with the African Youth in Tourism Conference also on Zoom.


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