By Chris Onuoha
Lagos, the city of cultural splendor, centre of art and hospitality, played host to African Travel Market fair tagged AKWAABA ’17.
The annual tourism expo held at Eko Hotel and Suites recently can better be described as the cynosure of art and convergence of over 20 countries across the globe. They included South African Tourism, Sun International, Batsumi Travel, and SA link Tour, among others.
Also in attendance was NANTA President, Bernard Bankole, NATOP President, Andrew Nkereuwem, and former SATSA board members who formed the discussant team that explored ways of partnership, encouraging African tourism and bringing real cultural exchange program into reality.
AKWAABA African Travel market is a marketing platform designed for airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, state tourism board and foreign trade partners to meet, network and exchange cultural understanding and sales of artifacts.
This year’s fair witnessed series of activities like ‘Chef challenge’ in jollof rice competition aimed at promoting West African culinary arts to an international audience; the Calabar Carnival; and Rwanda Cultural Troupe, plus a tour of beautiful art pieces that dotted the city of Lagos.
There was also conference of ‘One year commercial aviation accident free’ with aviation experts on the panel and an award of “100 African women in Tourism with a conference of youth in tourism discussing challenges of promoting domestic tourism to boost the industry and sales of African art.
Speaking at the event, South Africa Regional Manager for West Africa, Hloni Pitso, explained that the huge impact the platform has brought to Africa’s travel trade, tourism and art market is overwhelming. While appreciating the founder, Ikechi Uko, Pitso said the AKWAABA presents a great opportunity for tourism products to engage with travel trade for potential partnerships and collaboration.