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Accra Weizo 2017… In search of a united West Africa for tourism

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MD/CEO Med-View Airline Plc, Alhaji Muneer Bankole (left) receiving the Aviation Personality of the Year Award (Nigeria) from Ikechi Uko at the 2016 Accra Weizo conference in Accra, Ghana.

Organisers To Honour Icons, Unveil Top 100 Tourism Personalities

As stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector of West Africa gear up form the third edition of Accra Weizo holding in Accra, Ghana, organisers have revealed that the compilation on the Top 100 Tourism Personalities, a report of ‘Who is who’ in the industry in the sub-region, will eventually be launched at this year’s event.
   
Billed for launch on May 26, at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, the project, which is in line with the vision of Accra Weizo, the ECOWAS Travel and Tourism Fair, aims at promoting seamless travels within the sub-region. The event is organised in partnership with ATQNews.com and Travellers Magazine.      
AKWAABA African Travel Market is a yearly tourism exhibition and the major international Travel Fair in West Africa. It serves as a meeting place for the entire travel trade, featuring exhibitions, African travel and conferences, hospitality sessions, product launch, country day celebrations, trainings and awards, marketing our rich tourism potentials and culture.

 
The event will also feature Balafon Award, the West African Travel Awards instituted many years ago by the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market to recognise individuals, who have excelled in tourism and travel and who also have contributed to the growth of tourism and travels in the region.
   
Meanwhile, nominations for the awards are still ongoing by the Awards committee in partnership with the Board of ATQNews, and winners would be announced this month. However, the Top 100 Tourism Personalities in West Africa are individuals, who have distinguished themselves and through their efforts or that of their organisations have impacted positively on the travel and tourism sector across West Africa. It also include those whose efforts have stimulated and helped to achieve their individual country’s tourism goals and forging interactions among stakeholders and customers across the region.     
   
Speaking on the event, Dein Gbabo, Project Manager of AKWAABA African Travel Market, said: “In West Africa, the people in travel and tourism business need to network; each country in the region works in silos. This situation necessitated the need to create opportunities to network and by so doing stimulate the great potentials and benefits that lurk within travel business among the countries in the region.”
   
This year’s Accra Weizo is looking to create networking opportunity for players in the industry to meet the products, companies and personalities, who drive travel business in the sub-region. This presents a great opportunity for people and organisations seeking to do business in West Africa.
  
According to the programme schedule made available to the media, the opening day on May 26, will have five sessions; the ECOWAS session, which will discuss partnership that works; the West African private sector in partnerships; the Aviation Session on West Africa as a domestic aviation environment, while the tourism session will focus on West Africa, as a single tourist destination.

The tour packaging session will focus on how to package inbound and outbound tours, with the presentation of Top 100 personalities in West Africa compilation and Balafon Awards 2017.
  
Invited speakers, panelists and special guests for the event include, Dr. Enobong Umoessien; Acting Director, Private sector Directorate ECOWAS, Stella Christaine; private sector Directorate ECOWAS, Dr. Harold Demuren; a former DG, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authourity (NCAA) and DG, Ghana Civil Aviation Authourity, Chike Ogeah. Others are Vice President, SAHCOL; MD, Air Cote d’ivoire; MD, Air Peace; MD, Medview Airlines; MD, ASKY; MD, AWA; Minister of Aviation Ghana; Nigeria Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and others.
    
Expected participants are tour operators and travel agents in Ghana, Nigerian tour operators and travel agents, Team Africa members, travel agents from Benin Republic, Togo, South African Tourism Board, Dubai Tourism, tour operators from Liberia, West Africa Tourism Boards’, destination managers, leading hotels general managers among others.

  
The Digital marketing seminar, networking, exposure and provision of skills, which holds on May 27, will provide knowledge on eTourism in theory and practice, E-marketing Strategy, web designing, content and management, analytics and conversion optimisation, search engine marketing, relationship marketing, the generation gap- encouraging user generated content; trip advisor, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, managing multimedia and mobile and location based services.
  
It would be recalled that the last edition of Accra Weizo pulled together stakeholders in the travel, tourism, aviation and allied sector at La Palms Royal Beach Hotel and Resort in Accra, Ghana and featured a brain-storming session with a focus on liberalised air connectivity, visa accessibility and free movement in Africa.

Stakeholders who were mostly drawn from Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries observed the need to eradicate all entry barriers militating against free movement in the sub-region, to facilitate seamless travel in West Africa.


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