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FCT hots up, as Abuja Jabamah comes to town


A scene from the Abuja Carnival

As guests from across West Africa, as well as stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector of the continent gear up for the maiden edition of the Abuja Jabamah, which aims at exploiting Nigeria’s potential to play big in the MICE (Meetings Incentive Conferences and Events) market, the organisers, who are also responsible for the yearly Akwaaba Africa Travel Market, have unveiled a list of winners of the first MICE Awards in West Africa.

According to experts, MICE is the lowest hanging Tourism fruit for Nigeria and West Africa, and with Abuja already ranked highest Nigerian City for MICE, it’s only natural for the maiden edition of the conference to be hosted in the FCT. With the level of successes witnessed in Rwanda, which was hitherto a no go area for tourists, it is possible for Nigeria to leapfrog it’s tourism position using the MICE vehicle.

Overall, West Africa as a sub-region has not done well in MICE. Available statistics from the global association for meetings ICCA, only Accra (Ghana) is in the Top 10 in Africa; it’s ranked Number nine. Abidjan and Dakar are ranked 13, Abuja is number 15, while Lagos and Lome are outside the Top 20 list.


It’s against this background that the organisers of Akwaaba are launching the first MICE event in Nigeria, which holds on November 16. Discussions at the event will centre on MICE as a concept in Hospitality, with Charity Githinji, a Kenyan based in Tanzania, as lead speaker.

The session, according to the initiator Ikechi Uko, will also feature high level panel discussions on the Adaptation of Global Hotel Standards to African Environment, with Manisch Nambiar, GM of Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel Accra, Paul Kavanagh GM Golden Tulip Hotel Accra Ghana, Christine Platijes GM of De Edge Hotel Port Harcourt, Bennie Fritz GM of Bon Hotel Abuja and Vincent Ugbor the GM of Rockview Hotel Abuja and the President of HOPSEA as lead speakers.

The Tourism panel discussion will focus on fidns ways of tackling the challenges of Tour Operations in West Africa and will be anchored by Nancy Sam Quartey, President Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) and Nkereuwem Onung, the President of the National Association of Tour Operators (NATOP). Cost Control in Midlevel Hotels is the paper by Nnaemeka Agbasi CEO of NAC Hotels, while Jumia, Tripberry and Flyboku will discuss on the topic, Online Travel Agents and Hotels in West Africa, in a panel.

As a way of encouraging groups and individuals, who have been in the forefront of promoting tourism in Nigeria, the event will honour some of the pioneers of tourism in Abuja, as well as best new hotels in the city. Meanwhile, the first MICE Awards ever in West Africa will be given to the Champions of the concept in the Region.

According to a list made available to the media, the Most Active Tourism States in Nigeria are Lagos State, Cross River State, Ogun State, Kaduna State, FCT, Plateau States, Ogun State, Kano State, Kebbi State and Osun State.

While the Platinum Award for Meetings will go to Abuja, that of Incentive will go to Calabar, while Lagos will receive awards for both Conferences and Events.

Incentive Hotel of the year West Africa will go to Royal Senchi Resort Akosombo, Conference Hotel of the Year West Africa will be presented to La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, while Event Hotel of the Year West Africa award will go to Eko Hotel and Suites. MICE Company of the year will be given to TBI Nigeria, Accra will receive Conference City of the year West Africa, while MICE personality of the year West Africa will be presented to Governor Ambode of Lagos.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has expressed its desire to deepen it’s relationship with organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market for growth of tourism in the state. Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture Lagos, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, disclosed this to the Akwaaba team, which paid a courtesy call on the commissioner. It would be recalled that Lagos State returned to Akwaaba this year after 5 years of absence.

At the event, the Hon Commissioner celebrated the comeback as it has led to many positive results for both parties. She said the ministry is very proud to associate with Akwaaba and will work towards future projects.

The Ministry, in a letter presented to Akwaaba team, commended the Organiser of Akwaaba Travel Market for sustaining the event to her 13th year, adding that it is In line with the Governor’s vision of project T.H.E.S.E (which is to integrate Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment/Arts, Sports for Excellence.

“The state government identifies with Akwaaba as a sustainable event and will partner for future events. Lagos state will be fully represented at Abuja Jabamah,” the statement read in part.

The Hotel and MICE show will feature other activities such as Fam Trip to cover Abuja, Kaduna, Calabar and Lagos, starting from November 15 to 21.

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