Nigerians are rating Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola(SAN) so well that they have nominated him as one of the leading candidates for the annual Tourism Governor of the Year award along with last yearâ€™s winner, Babangida Aliyu the â€œServant Leaderâ€ of Niger State and Governor Liyel Imoke.
Governor Fashola is making the first entry by a Lagos State governor into the tourism awards something Cross River State has won more than any other state.
It may be that Nigerians are using the new look of Lagos and the successful Eyo Festival to judge his interest in tourism. It remains to be seen if the judges will agree as tourism stakeholders do not rate him as high.
ATQ magazine, the organisers of the annual event said that it used 100 judges from over 15 countries in Africa to choose the initial shortlist of nominees, the judges made up of journalists, tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, airline personnel and travellers voted in the first round of voting.
The awards will be presented to the winners by the former President of Gambia, Sir Dawda Jawara at the awards dinner on the 24th of October during the annual Akwaaba African Travel Market AfTM which comes up from the 24th of October to the 26th at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos.
AfTM is the African Equivalent of the World famous WTM in London and ITB in Berlin. Akwaaba is the only international expo in West Africa recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO) and theÂ official travel expo in Nigeria supported by all the major Aviation agencies in Nigeria and partnered by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC). It has attracted 13 airlines operating in and out of Nigeria.
Sir Dawda Jawara, the former president of the leading tourism destination in West Africa, the Gambia, will be the special guest of honor of the 5th Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM) taking place in Lagos Nigeria.
According to the organisers, Sir Dawda was chosen because he successfully pioneered the tourism dream on the West coast of Africa making Gambia a success story in West Africa which receives more tourists compared with other parts of Africa.
Receiving the organisers in his home recently in Banjul, the Gambia, the former president was full of commendation for bringing to fruition the vision of a regional marketing platform recalling his days in Achimota, Ghana and the dreams of the founding fathers of ECOWAS. There were exhibitors from 11 countries last year. About 100 destinations and suppliers from 20 countries are expected this year, creating the biggest travel market place in Africa as West Africa with its 250 million people hosts Africaâ€™s largest market.
Already, NTDC has mobilised all the states in Nigeria to take advantage of AfTM that opens the same weekend as the FIFA U-17 World Cup to showcase the enormous tourism potentials of Nigeria.