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Lagos Day returns to Akwaaba African Travel Market tomorrow

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
29 November 2021   |   2:56 am
Lagos, the 6th largest economy and entertainment capital of Africa, will be showcasing its tourism assets at Akwaaba tomorrow.

[FILES] Women in Tourism at Akwaaba Africa Travel Market in Lagos

Lagos, the 6th largest economy and entertainment capital of Africa, will be showcasing its tourism assets at Akwaaba tomorrow.

Honourable Commissioner of Tourism Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, will lead her team to Eko Hotel to unveil details of the Lagos Tourism Master Plan and other products.

Lagos is the first state to launch a Tourism Master Plan in Nigeria. It has been at the height of tourism engagements in Nigeria in the past year with training, meetings and events.

Akwaaba African Travel Market will be declared open by the Publisher of The Guardian, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru. As Special Guest of honour, she will join a growing list of female VIPs that have had the honour of opening the biggest travel and tourism events in West Africa.

The list includes former Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Anastacia Ndlovu; former Minister of Housing (Nigeria), Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi; and Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain and United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO).

She will cut the tape at 12:00 p.m. and speak on the role of the media in promoting tourism and travel.

Mrs. Alex-Ibru is a major stakeholder in tourism, as one of the owners of Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island and Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja.

The Lagos transport system will be on display at Akwaaba. Lagos has one of the most modern transport systems in Africa – the BRT. With the Lagos Ferry and the coming Blue and Red Rail services, the Lagos Mega City Project is on course.

Cross River State will also be at Akwaaba to unveil the 32 Days Christmas Festival. The world-famous Carnival Calabar is coming back this year, and the Carnival Commission will be at Akwaaba to engage with stakeholders.

Enish Restaurant and Lounge Dubai, the largest Nigerian restaurant chain in the world, will be engaging with Nigerian tour operators for its Dubai outlets. They are offering sweet deals to Nigerian operators – ‘Bring 10 tourists to Enish and get one meal free!”

Ethiopian Airlines seeks to sign up travel agents and tour operators without IATA licence at Akwaaba. Wakanow, Rwandair, Egypt Air, Satguru Savoury and Partners, Comfort Group, Alisa Hotel Ghana, Monty Suites Nigeria, NCAC, NIHOTOUR and ITPN are early birds at Akwaaba.

There will be lots of gifts for delegates, courtesy of Dubai Tourism (DTCM) and other exhibitors.

Also coming for this year’s event is Turaki Nura Kangiwa, Director General of NIHOTOUR. He will be the Guest Speaker at this year’s Hospitality Day on November 30. It will be his first Akwaaba as DG NIHOTOUR. He will be supporting Special Guest, Otunba Segun Runsewe, who is the Director-General of NCAC.

NIHOTOUR was a pioneer exhibitor at Akwaaba African Travel Market in 2004.

Recently, Akwaaba went into partnership with NIHOTOUR for the training of tourism professionals in Nigeria (NTSC). The two-day Travel Market will have exhibitors from Dubai, Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria and East Africa. It will be smaller in size than the 2019 edition, as organisers seek to impose COVID-19 protocols at the event.

Hospitality Day is making a comeback to Akwaaba. It was last held in 2016. At this year’s Hospitality Day, experts will treat various issues.

Turaki Nura Kangiwa will speak on ‘How to Scale Hospitality Training to Meet International Standards.

A panel that will include Tana Forsuelo of Wavecrest, Victor Kayode of NHCI and Justina Ovat (President, Women in Hospitality Nigeria) will treat the topic appropriately.

Amaechi Ndili, President of Golden Tulip Hotels, West Africa, will be speaking on, ‘The Role of Hotels in the Leisure Economy and Tourism Recovery’.

Since the 2013 Supreme Court Judgment that took away the powers of the Federal Government to regulate tourism, how has the industry responded? What are the grey areas and what should practitioners do? Chief Sam Alabi, Chairman BoT of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) will speak on, ‘The Limits of State Regulation of Tourism and Hospitality Businesses’.

The fallout of that judgment is hotel classification. Stakeholders and the three states that have made serious attempts at organising their hotel environments will discuss that topic.

The topic, ‘State Registration and Classification of Hotels: The Journey So Far’, will be handled by Alhaji Badaki Aliyu, First National Deputy President of FTAN; Prof. Wasiu Babalola, Senior Vice President for Africa, Continent Worldwide Hotels; Eric Anderson, Commissioner of Tourism, Cross River State; Mr. Ini Akpabio, Chairman, Akwa Ibom Hotel and Tourism Board; and Princess Adenike Adedoyin, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture.

The African Travel Market will begin on November 29 with the Youth Tourism Panel. The panel consists of the champions and pioneers of domestic tourism in Nigeria. They are expected to share their experiences on how they started and survived challenges and their future plans.

The plan will have the pioneer of Instagram Tourism Promotions in Nigeria, Chiamaka Obuekwe. She will be joined by Bolaji Seun of Naija Explorers; Dr. Onifade Adekunle Eedris of Universal Aviation School; Aminat Akanbi, CEO of Triplisters; Cordis Marianuela Umeokoli, CEO of Mardis Travels; and Sam Adeleke of Travelwith SamGlobal.

Obinna Emelike, the Tourism and Arts Editor of Business Day will moderate the session. Olugbenga Sunday Omotayo, the promoter of Idere Hills in Oyo State, will also share his experience on how he moved from hotel management to destination manager.

The second panel will be on ‘Outbound Tours and Travel Tears: What are the Challenges Tour Operators Go Through in Handling International Tours?’ A high-level panel from the second leading travel association of NATOP and NANTA will treat this issue. The panellists will include the current president of NANTA, Susan Akporiaye, and will be moderated by the vice president of NATOP and Lagos coordinator, FTAN, Ime Udo.

Other panellists are David Lamidi, the co-founder of Diamond and Pearl Travels; Shalom Asuquo-Ankoh of Travel Lab; Cecile Doumbe of CMD Tours; Odion Chigbufue of Tour Brokers International, TBI; Egbane Pelagie, the Chief Experience Curator 3Cords Leisure and Vacations; and Gbenga Onitilo of Wakanow.

The second batch of Nigerian Tourism Specialist Certificate Course NTSC will also hold on Monday.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders of Nigeria, the Naija7wonders, will be unveiled on Tuesday, November 30 by some special guests. These are the three members of the Tourism 100 Club, who were recently upgraded by the government.

They are Princess Surah Animashaun, who was elected as Chairman, Epe LGA; Piriye Kiriyamo, who has been appointed as SSA Tourism to the Governor of Bayelsa State; and Nkereuwem Onung, who was elected as President of the Tourism Federation in Nigeria.