The 13th edition of the Akwaaba African Travel Market opened in Lagos on Sunday the 10th of September with lots of fun fair, glamour and exhibition of products and services by different companies from across the world.
The Eko Hotel and suites where the event took place was filled to capacity as exhibitors with warm smiles and mouth-watering offers introduced their products and services urging participants and would- be- patrons to take advantage of their services.
Declaring the travel market opened, the elated Director General, National Council of Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said Nigeria has all its takes to bring the world to its doorsteps with amazing tourist sites citing the Obudu cattle ranch and the Calabar carnival that has become a household name in some foreign countries.
He noted that with a travel fair like the Akwaaba African travel market held annually needs the support of all stakeholders to make it bigger than it is now, adding that it had been promoting and would continue to do so in a bigger way in boosting the nation’s travel, culture and tourism.
Rusewe commended the organizer by Ikechi Uko, publisher of ATQ magazine who had organizing the fair for the 13 years now for his resilience and determination to contribute his own quota to developing his country through travel and tourism.
According to him,“Akwaaba is representing all of us, we must all support it and tap into it”
He urged Nigerians to borrow a leaf from other countries like the United Arabs Emirates who turn a desert into paradise that everyone want to visit, adding that Akwaaba has the potential to do this if given the needed support.
Rusewe said Nigeria can become a Dubai who made $600million and invested it in tourism and today is reaping the fruits.
Also present at the event was the Lagos state Government represented by permanent secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Ashimi Jamiu Adewale, assured that the government is doing a lot to make the state a preferred tourist destination with massive in infrastructure.
“we are investing heavily on tourism in Lagos, we want people to see what we have in the state, Lagos is now a very safe place to stay and we invest money into infrastructure to provide enabling environment in the state”.
The state government in support of the market promised to provide two double-decker buses to take exhibitors and tourists at the event to visits to tourism sites in Lagos state.
It was tagged the tour of the city.
Ikechi Uko, organizer of the market said events like this brings people together to showcase their rich culture heritage as well as their tourism sites.
Day one of the event kicked off with the Jollof rice challenge between Nigeria and Ghana, to unveil who cooks jollof rice better.
The Chef Challenge tagged Jollof Rice war, Uko said it is another way of uniting the people even though it is tagged ‘war’, it will go a long way in bringing African minds together, especially in the area of food brand in Africa.
“We are trying to create a proper product, brand for Africa, there are 9 Chefs from Ghana and 19 from Nigeria who will prove their cuisine ability here today, we need brands like this in Africa, we want to raise Jollof rice up to product that people will eat and have an opinion about where it is prepare and by who”.
Day two of the event was the Aviation Day where stakeholders in the African Aviation industry dwelt on what Africa did to achieve an accident free aviation year in 2016.
The theme was’ 2016, African Aviation Accident free year, What did we do Right?
Answer to this question was given by a veteran aviator, Elder Gbenga Olowo, president Sabre Network West Africa and Aviation RoundTable Safety Initiative, ART.