Meeting point for investors in the African travel sector and others

by MMC
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September 16 (THEWILL) – This year, the Africa Travel Market (ATM) “Akwaaba” brand brought together several industry players, especially Africa travel and tourism investors. This development has given these stakeholders the opportunity to exhibit their products, have face-to-face meetings and exchange business ideas and collaborations. JANEFRANCES CHIBUZOR writes that the resulting effects were astonishing while scoring a very high score for the event.

With the unique diversity and number of participants at this year’s ATM, which took place at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, there are clear testimonies of what the future holds for the Nigerian economy in terms of growth.

ATM, undoubtedly, the parent company of “Akwaaba”, one of the brands among two others like Accraweizo and Abuja Jabama, focuses on providing services to related travel businesses across continents.


Mr. Ikechi Uko, an African tourism expert, consultant and ambassador, is the mastermind behind top-notch travel agencies in Africa. Before and during the event, he kept his eyes on the ball to ensure that the 19th edition of Akwaaba succeeded in creating that conducive environment for interaction among professionals in the African travel industry.

The three-day event with its theme. The “Building sustainable cities through tourism” project began from September 3 to 5, 2023.

The exceptional performances of two gorilla masqueraders were one of the highlights of the event. The impeccable masquerade of the black gorilla; and a very traditional ash-colored gorilla masquerade were provided by Wakanow CEO, Mr. Bayo ‘Lion’ Ayodeji.

Speaking to journalists at the event, Uko, at the travel expo, which was attended by about 80 percent of Africa’s travel industry stakeholders, stressed that Akwaaba was the only authentic travel expo in Africa.

According to him, the organization remains the only travel exhibition without government funding.

To buttress these claims, Uko reiterated that Akwaaba provides Nigerians with an opportunity to engage with the world. “And that is why stakeholders described the forum as a meeting point between Africa and the world. »

Describing Akwaaba as a platform designed for travel industry leaders to discuss various strategies to chart the way forward, he said: “The travel show is the place where all stakeholders in the travel industry meet . There is no other place in Africa where travel industry players meet, any travel show you attend in Africa is not dominated by any country in Africa except Akwaaba.

To this end, he said Nigeria could rely on two elements to boost tourism.

“For example, it’s like when you see how the winners play if you go and watch. So when we play Messi and Ronaldo, you learn perfection and best practices from them. The best product here is that our players know how to market and how to communicate.

“Nigeria thinks you have to go to CNN to sell tourism, but real people know that’s not how you sell tourism. Face to face, tourism sells on trust, for me to give you the lives of 100 people and entrust them to your care, I must have trust. And I have to build a relationship with you and the easiest way to build a business relationship is what happens.

Pressed further, Uko said: “I can tell you what one of the exhibitors who participated told me. She specifically said that Nigerians are the best business people she has ever met.

According to the exhibitor, she has been able to strike business deals with a large number of people, adding that she has never seen business opportunities like the one she observed in Nigeria.

“I have ten passengers. And they asked, “How much is it going to cost?” How can I pay you? I want this and I want that. For most national airlines, “they see themselves as carriers, not service providers. And so, when you get to where the big guys play, you’ll understand how the big guys play, and serving is the key.

“Again, you can see Ibom Air and Value Jet which are here; they have high service standards. It depends on how you position your airlines and if you could handle the Q&A here, you can do it at the airport.

“You wonder why almost every international airline has a vacation branch, Ethiopia vacations, Virgin vacations, etc.? Does Nigeria have such a thing? “So service has been our challenge and I am impressed that Ibom Air and Value Jet are there; at least let them lead the charge and let others follow.

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