AKWAABA African Travel Market


Leading tourism media and promotion company, and organisers of AKWAABA African Travel Market, among many others have announced partnership agreements with key organisations and companies towards the successful hosting of the 7th edition of the Abuja Jabamah, the foremost domestic tourism event in Nigeria.

The tourism event which is set to take place on the 18th of November 2019 at the Exhibition Hall of the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja, has got the support of the National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC), National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Cabo Verde Airlines, and Ethiopian Airlines who have agreed to partner with the organisers, according to report.

Abuja Jabamah 2019, a one-day event will feature: Familiarisation Trip, Sampling of Northern Cuisine With Chef Fatima, and a B2B Session, while the Induction the Tourism 100 Club (Class of 2019) will rounds up the day.

Meanwhile, the organisers have finalised the complete list of inductees for the Tourism 100 Club (Class of 2019). While imploring those who didn’t make the cut this year to look forward to next year, Mr. Ikechi Uko, the organiser pointed out that the accent this year has been on the Emerging Forces in the Tourism Industry in Nigeria.

“We are only trying to build a database for Tourism in Nigeria. We try and recognise those who have strived in this most difficult environment. Tourism is tough in Nigeria and the few players recognised are trying to uplift the Nation the best way they can.” He added.

Tourism 100 Club

  • Lola Adefope
  • Olugbenga Omotayo Sunday
  • Odion Chigbufue
  • Oguntoye Taiwo Oye
  • Oguntoye Kehinde Oladele
  • Anago Osho
  • Omotosho Hakeem Olamilekan
  • Bolaji Seun
  • Debbie Egwuogu
  • Michael Balogun
  • Jennifer Awoh
  • Adun Okupe
  • Justina Ovat
  • Geraldine Itoe
  • Nneka (Nne Tomato Jos) Unachukwu-Okaro
  • Lydia Akpadiaha
  • Johnpaul Ezeani
  • Mofe Runsewe
  • Aminat Akanbi
  • Funmi Oyatogun
  • Diala Chibuikem
  • Bukola Olowude
  • Oludayo Taiwo Gideon
  • Olusola Segbenu
  • Patricia Ozioma
  • Victoria Onyemuwa
  • Derinsola Shotunde Taiyeloolou (Deerin Èlèran)
  • Ubong Ekpe Okon
  • Rita Obidike (SKAL President)
  • Samson Aturu (HATMAN)
  • Precious Okonji (FTAN)
  • Ime Udo (NATOP)
  • Hassan Abdulmalik (NANTA)
  • Shalom Asuquo (Travelab)
  • Patrick Chidi (Joliewaka)
  • Peace Iyare (PeacefulSky)
  • Capt. Oudah Kenneth Anate (Stay Up Aviation School)
  • Capt. Emmanuel (Exodus Academy)
  • Piriye Kiyaramo (Travel Club)
  • Erhahon Uhnamure (Brisks)
  • Ib Uloma Kemabonta (Retz)
  • Aniedi Udofia (EDC)
  • Ifeoma Aneke (Allure)
  • Jibola Oluseye
  • Wole Ayorinde (Travel Beta)
  • Balqees Olubunmi Olaniyi
  • Ajibola Ogunkeye (Ufitfly Makanjuola Ibrahim Sholar (Youth Tourism)
  • Andrew Okungbowa
  • Justina Okpanku
  • Hope Obeten
  • Niyi David
  • Hannah Oni
  • Taiye Baiyerohi Olayemi
  • Dozie Uzo
  • Fisayo Olayinka-Bello
  • Chinyere Nwanma Ogidi
  • Ayo Shadare Shaddie Bobo (Lagos Jazz festival)
  • Abom Ephraim Okon
  • Chinedu Okeke (Oriteme Banigo Gidifest)
  • Ozo Chinedu Idezuna Ezemuo
  • Dr. Iyam Ugot (Carnival Calabar Band Leader)
  • Friday Nwosu (Reporter, ATQ News)
  • Chigozie Chukwuemeka (Project Manager, Jedidah Promotions Ltd)
  • Gbabo Laura Dein Gbabo (Biz Dev Manager, Akwaaba Travel Market)
  • Paul Kosarachi Ukachukwu (Akwaaba African Youth in Tourism Conference)
  • Sunday Onen (Image Developer/Web Admin, ATQ News)
  • Tolulope Ogundipe (CEO, Tulpan Travels and Tours)
  • Hon. Adiele Ekene (Organiser, Ukwa Carnival, Abia)
  • Alhaji Ibrahim Goni (Conservator General, National Park Service)
  • Jovita Inyang (Founder, Jevinik)
  • Abigail Adesina Olagbaye
  • Glory Okon (Splendour TV)
  • Onuaha Maryann Nkiruka (CEO, Maria Bella Travels)
  • Sunmonu Dauud Gbenga (Complete Culinary & Hospitality Academy)
  • Orman Esin (Commissioner for Tourism, Akwa Ibom)
  • Olaide Mesewaku Babatunde (Lagos State Perm. Sec)
  • Oba Adeyemi Obalenlege (Olota of Ota)
  • Alhaji Kabir M. Momoh (Ag. DG, NIHOTOUR)
  • Mrs. Shuli Adebolu (Commissioner for Tourism, Lagos State)
  • Ismaila Olurisimi Ayodeji (Commissioner for Tourism, Ondo State)
  • Hon. Muyiwa Olumilua (Commissioner for Tourism, Ekiti State)
  • Hon. Muyiwa Oladapo (Commissioner for Tourism, Ogun State)
  • Mohammed S. Arewa (Commissioner for Tourism, Sokoto State)
  • Osazee Osemwengie-Ero (Commissioner for Tourism, Edo State)
  • Mrs. Halima Sanni (Director: Domestic Tourism, Fed. Min. of Information & Culture)
  • Chiamaka Ifediora (CEO Merging Borders)

Dubai, UAE, 6 October 2019:

Dubai has welcomed 113,000 overnight visitors from Nigeria in the first seven months of 2019, according to statistics contained in a press release issued by the Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) reporting a stellar incline in tourism volumes from the West African country.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest source market for inbound traffic to Dubai, and with an impressive double-digit growth, inbound traffic grew by 28 per cent year-on-year, to cement its position as the emirate’s 17th largest source market. Dubai’s diverse portfolio of attractions has experienced sustained interest amongst Nigerian travellers through ongoing strategic trade partnerships, bespoke integrated marketing campaigns, and always-on social media activations.

Building on ongoing efforts to provide a platform to broadcast Dubai’s multifaceted comprehensive offerings to African tourists, Dubai Tourism, led by the CEO, Issam Kazim, showcased its support at the Akwaaba African Travel Market for the fourth consecutive year with a strong delegation of 21 Dubai-based partners, which included a team from Expo 2020 Dubai. West Africa’s most prestigious travel trade event brought together industry stakeholders from across the public and private sector to provide a platform to share key market insights, further cementing the emirate’s relationships with operators and offering the opportunity to promote Dubai’s ever-evolving destination offering to a highly targeted audience.

Winning the ‘Best Stand’ award for the fourth year in a row, the Dubai Tourism stand, which was the largest at the show, welcomed visitors and set an Akwaaba record with over 700 delegates attending its industry panel session. To the delight of the crowd, six of the nine Nollywood celebrities from the ‘Dubai Faceoff’ campaign made a surprise appearance on stage to voice their experience and admiration for the city. During the session, Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) was joined by His Excellency Fahad Obaid Mohamed Al Taffag, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide market insights and an update on visitor figures. Other highlights included Dubai’s diverse destination offerings and an overview of in-market campaigns.

The event also encompassed several strategic meetings with trade and media partners, including TBI, a key trade partner and one of the largest in Nigeria; Megaletrics, one of the largest owners of radio stations in Nigeria, as well as Dubai’s other key trade partners GHI Assets, NANTA, Seki, and Wakanow.com.
As Dubai Tourism continues to represent itself as a model case study for tourism to the African travel market, it maintains its focus on increasing overall marketing activities including training workshops, trade activities (sales activations, fam trips) and campaigns as well as expanding upon the number of Dubai-based partners that participate in roadshows and events in the Nigerian market. Dubai-based partners present at Dubai Tourism’s stand included American Hospital, Avani Deira Dubai Hotel, Copthorne Hotel, Dubai Health Authority, Emaar Hospitality Group LLC, Expo 2020, Golden Sands Hotel Apartments, Golden Treasure Tourism L.L.C, JA Resorts & Hotels L.L.C, Jumeirah Group, Mida Travels, Pacific Destination Tourism L.L.C, Rayna Tourism L.L.C, Red Apple Middle East Tourism LLC, Royal Arabian Destination Management DMCC, Tabeer Tourism, The Ritz Carlton Dubai, JBR, Travel Destination Online DMCC, W Hotel Palm Jumeirah, Wings Tours Gulf (L.L.C).

Issam Kazim, CEO, (DCTCM), said: “The immense hospitality and genuine welcome we received during our time in Nigeria paved the way for a hugely successful Akwaaba Travel Market 2019. Our continued presence at industry events such as these is testament to our globally diversified market strategy to engage with key strategic partners, cementing our positive relationship with the African travel trade ecosystem.”

Further fostering growth across the African continent, Dubai Tourism continues to leverage its multi-layered marketing strategy, delivering specialised communications programming that recognises the power of social media in influencing travellers’ decision-making processes. This approach saw the launch of the ‘Dubai Face Off’ campaign, where Dubai Tourism successfully collaborated with trade partners WONTRA and Tour Brokers International to provide an exclusive travel package that let fans travel with ‘Nollywood’ celebrities. As part of the campaign, nine well-known Nigerian celebrities gave fans the rare opportunity to accompany them to Dubai, with the package offering flight tickets, entry visa, airport transfers, four nights stay at a 4 or 5 star accommodation, a desert safari experience, city tour, tickets to IMG Worlds of Adventure, world class dining experiences, as well as designated time with the celebrities.
With strategic support from stakeholders across the city, the celebrity figures and their fans participated in a series of challenges that incorporated social media engagement, asking fans to vote on their favourite winners throughout their stay. The campaign surpassed projected results with over 200 fans travelling to Dubai  for the exclusive campaign, while the celebrities received just under 31 million engagements on social media to boost the department’s ‘always-on’ social media strategy – which, to date, has exceeded the entire year’s forecasted engagement targets by almost 300 per cent.
Issam Kazim, CEO, DCTCM, commented on the campaign: “As Dubai continues to become a prime destination of choice for Nigerian travellers, we are committed to extending the potential of one of our fastest growing source markets by offering custom-made integrated marketing campaigns and trade activations that showcase the city’s world-class propositions and exceptional experiences on offer. The ‘Dubai Face Off’ campaign is a prime example of our endeavours to harness the power of user generated content and organic circulation in targeting segments eager for customised and diversified experiences.”
As the department continues to build on and cement its strong relationship with the Nigerian market, Dubai tourism has plans to launch a second targeted winter marketing celebrity campaign with out-of-home advertising, radio, and social media activations to further engage Nigerian tourists and position Dubai as the destination of choice all year round.

A story is told of a world title fight involving the greatest – the legendary boxer Mohammed Ali. As was customary, Ali, being the challenger was summoned to the ring first but he refused to move. Instead, the Louisville Lip insisted on bringing up the rear – as it were – asking that the champ make his ring entrance first. Reminded that, the champ enters the ring last. Ali retorted, “By the time the night is done, I’ll be champ.”

You must be fully persuaded about yourself and have a certainty about your abilities, because bringing up the rear is a prerogative of a certain cadre or calibre of people.

When you get the final slot on the programme of activities of an event of a certain magnitude, the organisers must have faith in your abilities to sign off with a grand performance and give the event a befitting closure. To take up the final slot at an event that stretches for about seven or eight hours, you must bring your A-game. You could be left with a half-empty hall before you start your presentation – and a substantial part of that audience may be gone by the time you’re done.

You must be fully persuaded about yourself and have a certainty about your abilities, because bringing up the rear is a prerogative of a certain cadre or calibre of people. There’s an old African adage among the Yoruba that says, Éégun nla ni kẹhin igbàlẹ.” A rough translation: “the biggest masquerade exits the sacred grove last.”

During the Égungun festival the masquerades parade the streets in their colourful garbs, wielding canes and speaking in guttural tones. There are different classes of Égungun or Éégun – the latter is a contraction of the former – and the junior masquerades are usually the first to make their appearances before the biggest or most important Éégun brings up the rear.

Coffee brewing…

When the programme of events for the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market was revealed, and Ethiopian Day was scheduled for 18:00hrs on the third day of the 3-day event, it was ‘clear’ that by that time the hall ‘would’ be half empty. Surely by then everyone was sated and most would have left the hall. In any case, there shouldn’t be much to look forward to with some booths already empty by 15:00hrs. Maybe, that was the strategy – the fewer the people around, the better. Not a bad strategy. After all they say “Cut your coat according to your size.”

Former Mrs. Tourism Ebele Enemchukwu with another beauty queen…
Organiser of AKWAABA, Ikechi Uko as compere…

The Ethiopians were prompt on time. When I entered the conference hall at about 18:05hrs, it had been rearranged for a dinner setting and I barely found a seat. How did the Ethiopians do it? The hall was filled and extra seats had to be added to some tables. There were bottles of wine and water on the tables, while coffee was being brewed as the presentation went on – and it was simple and precise. Right after the presentation, it was time for food and the audience got a taste of injera and doro wat, with lentils along with a variety of Nigerian dishes to complement the Ethiopian cuisine.

Gluten-free Injera
Array of gastronomic delights…
Guests being served…

Business cards had been collected before the presentation began and as we rounded up dinner, the raffle draw took place. Winners emerged – and one of them was our friend, Mr. Didier Bayeye of Sun International who won an Ethiopian Airlines business class ticket and 5-night stay at Kuriftu Resort & Spa, Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Airlines General Manager, Mrs. Firiehiwot Mekonnen graciously made it two business class tickets to accommodate Mrs. Bayeye. It was befitting. Didier and his wife, Shirley were both singles when they attended AKWAABA 2018. Somehow, they connected and about a month ago, they had their wedding.

Mr. & Mrs. Bayeye…
Presentation to the Bayeyes by Ethiopian Airlines GM…

Speaking of weddings, some 2,000 years ago in Cana, Galilee there was a wedding and a situation arose – they ran out of wine. Lucky for them, Jesus was a guest at the wedding and when the situation was presented to him, he made provisions such that they were astonished. Their source of amazement was simple. In that clime and in those days, you serve the best wine first. By the time you run short, the people are already drunk and you can bring the cheap wine. However, the wine Jesus provided was better than what they had before. In other words, the best was saved for last.

Dancing time…

The night was not done yet as we were treated to some Ethiopian music and dancing and sure enough, many joined in the celebration as Ethiopia brought the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market to a befitting grand closure.

Image credit: ©Igbo Ogbobine 2019 for More Cream Than Coffee®


Now, this article is not an attempt to belittle the efforts of the various participants at the recently concluded 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market. Indeed, everyone held their own as they did there thing which ultimately made the travel trade expo such a resounding success.

Respected and popular former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of Seychelles, Alain St.Ange along with several other awardees on the respected list of Africa Top 100 Tourism Global Personalities made it to the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market which took place in Lagos, Nigeria to personally receive their awards.

According to the organiser of AKWAABA African Travel Market and Publisher of ATQ NewsIkechi Uko, “The award recognizes personalities of African origin, living in Africa or outside the continent, irrespective of their current citizenship or nationality who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and its Diaspora.”

Former Minister St. Ange is the President of African Tourism Board Association (ATBA) and has been working tirelessly to create avenues for continued growth of tourism. He said after receiving the prestigious award that it was a tremendous honour for the work he has been doing for tourism as an industry. “I thank wholeheartedly the African Tourism Diaspora for this wonderful recognition.”

Alain St. Ange speaking at the conference…

The presentation of awards took place immediately after the 1st African Tourism Diaspora Conference 2019, which was part of the line-up of events at the travel and tourism expo which was hosted at the Convention Centre of the prestigious Eko Hotel Lagos, Victoria Island from September 22 to 24, 2019. The conference and presentation of awards took place on Monday September 23, 2019.

Speakers at the African Diaspora Tourism Conference
Some of the awardees present…

The Africa Travel 100 Awards, now in its 18th year, has recognized over the years leaders, industry practitioners and government officials who have promoted tourism and improved travel using unique platforms and new information.

All image credit: ©Igbo Ogbobine 2019 for More Cream Than Coffee®

The 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market kicked off to a bright start on Sunday Sept 22, 2019 as hundreds of people turned out at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island to witness the expo.

The venue was packed as the various exhibition stands received a throng of Nigerians and other nationals, among whom many took the chance to sample the 21 different Jollof Rice by paying a token of N1,000.

It was Uganda Day and they made the most of it, shining brightly as they took the time to educate the crowd about the beauty and tourism attractions of the country affectionately referred to as the “Pearl of Africa,” with emphasis on the “Ugandan Martyrs.” The Ugandan delegation was led by the State Minister of Tourism, Hon Kiwanda Godfrey Ssuubi with the Ugandan Ambassador to Nigeria also in attendance.

The Uganda delegation crowned their presentation by giving out gifts to a host of selected deserving individuals.

Already present and exhibiting at this year’s event are: Dubai Tourism, Ghana, The Gambia, Asky & Ethiopian Airlines, Africa World Airlines (AWA), Caribbean Tourism Organisation, National Council for Arts & Culture, Lagos State, Arik Air and many more. The expo continues on Monday with Dubai Tourism hosting its “A Glimpse of Dubai” in the morning. Other activities for the day include Gambia Day, African Diaspora Tourism Conference, and Rum Time with the Caribbean. Exhibitions also continues through the day.

…more updates and images of AKWAABA 2019 coming…

The Director of Marketing, Gambia Tourism Board, Adama Njie has emphasized the importance of attending the annual AKWAABA African Travel Market and the pivotal role it plays in the growth of tourism in The Gambia. Njie made this known in an interview with thepoint.gm, an online media recently.

According to Njie who was on the three-man panel that deliberated on “The Role of DMCs and DMOs in Sustainable Destination Marketing in Africa” at the 14th AKWAABA African Travel Market in 2018, statistics between 2015 and 2018 show that air arrivals for the Nigerian market into The Gambia had gone up by 39% in 2018. This represents the highest total increase margin following the country’s return to participate in the biggest international travel & tourism trade show in West Africa.

Njie stated further that among non-traditional markets arrival for 2018 (Jan – Dec), the figures went up to 77,109 from 63,492 for 2017 arrivals (Jan – Dec), representing an increase of 21%, with the Nigerian and American markets topping the list of arrivals by nationalities in 2018.

There was significant decrease in the number of arrivals from Nigeria following the absence of Destination Gambia, Njie noted, “but The Gambia rejoining the AKWAABA African Travel Market is now a plus to the country as we are gradually picking up again.”  

Speaking elsewhere, the organiser of AKWAABA African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko commended the Gambia Ministry of Tourism & Culture and tourism board for taking the bold step to reconnect with AKWAABA African Travel Market in 2018. He disclosed that there are six popular events that are dominant and have brand equity in West Africa and The Gambia with its brand equity has an opportunity to occupy its space as far as tourism is concern in West Africa.

The six popular events, according to Uko are: Senegal’s Dak’Art (visual arts), FESPACO in Burkina Faso (movies), PANAFEST for culture in Ghana; AKWAABA (tourism) and Carnival Calabar both in Nigeria, and the ROOTS Homecoming Festival in The Gambia (with the next edition slated for December 2020).

The Gambia is the smallest mainland country on the continent and it is affectionately referred to as the Smiling Coast of Africa. Director General of The Gambia Tourism Board, Abdoullahi Hydara will lead a strong team of stakeholders from the country to the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market which will take place September 22 – 24, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & suites, Victoria Island. The Gambia Day takes place on Monday Sept. 23, 2019 from 11:30am.

All indications portend that the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market is set to become the biggest and best edition of the travel and tourism trade show as more countries have confirmed their participation. Perhaps in line with the Year of Return theme by design or coincidence, Uganda is set for a return since her last appearance in 2016, as the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) leads a team of Ugandan tour operators to showcase the country’s major tourists’ attractions.

Tagged the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape straddles the equator, with Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, forming part of its southern border. It is from this same lake that the Nile, the world’s longest river, starts its (4,258 miles) journey at Jinja – the adrenaline capital of East Africa, 80km east Kampala.

Fantastic wildlife and some of the friendliest people in Africa make Uganda unbeatable.

According to a statement from the UTB, “Very many wonderful things have been said about Uganda by various authors and travellers who have had the chance to visit. Some talk about the charming weather, natural resources, rich culture, and history; while others talk about the lovely people whose hospitality is unmatched. Most quickly note the numerous beautiful birds, and other rare wildlife species that are only found in Uganda. All that is true but there is more!”

“Uganda is the land of martyrs in Africa. This religious story is summarized in the Uganda Martyrs Trail. The Trail is an extraordinary journey of faith that literally gets one in the footsteps of the first Christian missionaries and converts as they walked through Uganda preaching, teaching, healing and transforming lives, finally to the places of their martyrdom.”

The abundant wildlife in Uganda includes the ‘BIG 5’ – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. It is home to 1,072 bird species among which are some of the world’s rarest. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for the silverbacks offers a mountain gorilla tracking life changing experience.

Reputed for its serenity, the Ssese Island on Lake Victoria, one of Uganda’s greatest and uncrowned beaches with beautiful white sands creates a perfect never-ending honeymoon experience. Finally, the capital city, Kampala is the city that never sleeps and has been dubbed the “Entertainment Capital of East Africa.”

“Uganda Day” is scheduled for Day 1, September 22, 2019 at 2:00pm. AKWAABA African Travel Market will run from September 22 to 24, 2019 at the Convention Centre of the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

LONDON, United Kingdom (17 September 2019) 

The Caribbean Tourism Organization has been invited to lead a high level panel discussion on the topic of African Heritage of the Caribbean … Connecting the Dots which will take centre stage at the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market in Lagos, Nigeria from September 22 – 24, 2019. 

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Kerry Hall, Director of Tourism Product Development in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Barbados during the session. Dr Hall will share historical facts on the English-born settlers living in Barbados, who required more land to expand the island’s thriving sugar industry. They sailed to North America, bringing along enslaved black Barbadians and white Barbadian indentured servants. Not only did the plantation-based system of enslaved people define the economy of the American South, but Charleston in South Carolina, still reflects the African and Barbadian Heritage, and proudly maintain Gullah Traditions. 

Dr Hall declared the connection between Africa, Barbados and Charleston is a story that needs to be showcased to the world. “I am honoured to have the opportunity to share the fascinating yet little known linkages which bind Barbados and Charleston. We recently launched the documentary ‘Beyond Barbados: The Barbados Carolinas Connection’ and will also showcase the documentary during Akwaaba Travel Market.”

Other esteemed panel members include His Excellency Wendell De Landro, High Commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and His Excellency Esmond Reid, High Commissioner of Jamaica to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

High Commissioner De Landro will discuss how the Africa Caribbean Heritage has influenced diaspora and international tourism in Trinidad and Tobago, and the impact that this has had on establishing Trinidad Carnival as one of the most renowned Carnivals in the world. 

High Commissioner Reid will address on how Jamaica’s music and heritage have been strongly influenced by Africa and the Rastafarian movement. These influences have enriched Jamaica’s position as a leading destination for travellers seeking an authentic cultural experience.

Fabien Anthony, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Pan-African Council, will address the Caribbean roots of Pan-Africanism, including opportunities to foster connections and strategic partnerships between Africa and its diaspora in the Caribbean and North America that will lead to impactful opportunities for youth and communities. Anthony, will also promote Diaspora Tourism as a lever for education, cultural exchange, community leadership and economic opportunities.  

Sharon Palacio, Chairperson from In2Belize Travel and Tours and leading Garifuna Specialist from Belize will discuss the African Heritage of the Garifuna people, enslaved West Africans who washed ashore on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent around 1635 while likely on their way to the mines and plantations in the Americas. Palacio will also highlight how their legacy is preserved today through culture and heritage.  

The panel organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will be moderated by Carol Hay, CTO’s Director of Marketing UK & Europe. Hay stated: “We welcome the opportunity to participate in Akwaaba Travel Market with such a dynamic panel of speakers. The theme for the travel market, ‘The Year of the Return’, commemorates 400 years since the first Africans were enslaved, taken from their homeland and brought to the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas. We have a vibrant story to tell; a rich heritage to share, and really see this as an opportunity to connect the dots on all levels, including the opportunity to promote tourism and trade between Africa and the Caribbean.” 

The 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market is less than 5 days (about 108 hours) away, and all hands are on deck to ensure a smooth running of the international travel and tourism expo which is the first and biggest in the West African region. A host of interesting events have been included in this year’s trade show to make it the best ever.

Among these is the 1st African Diaspora Tourism Conference. Other events lined up include: the 3rd edition of the African Food Fair tagged Jollof Rice War, African Youth Tourism Conference, African Travel 100 Global Tourism Personalities Award, etc.

The 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market will take place at the prestigious Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos from 22nd to 24th of September 2019.

AKWAABA African Travel Market, where Africa meets the world!

See below for the full programme of events.


DAY 1: Sunday 22nd September 2019

  • Exhibition @ Eko Hotel – AKWAABA: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Opening ceremony (cutting of tape & media visit to exhibition stands): 2:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Ghana Day – Presentation and Food: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Africa Food Fair: #JollofRiceWar (Nigeria vs Ghana vs The Gambia) 4:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Nigeria Day (ECHOES OF Calabar Food Display): 5:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Uganda Day: 6:00pm –7:00pm
  • Dance, Dance, Dance

DAY 2: Monday 23rd September 2019

  • Exhibition @ Eko Hotel –AKWAABA: 9:00am – 6:00pm
  • Breakfast with DUBAI: 9:30am – 11:30am
  • The Gambia Day:  11:30am – 1:30pm
  • African Diaspora Tourism Conference: Spotlighting the Year of Return:  3:00pm – 6:30pm
  • Entertainment/Networking & Dinner:  5:10pm – 5:30pm
  • Africa Travel 100 Global Tourism Personalities Awards (Remaining Presentations): 6:00pm – 6:20pm
  • Rum Time with the Caribbean (Entertainment/Pictures, etc.):  6:20pm – 6:30pm

DAY 3: Tuesday 24th September 2019

  • Exhibition @ Eko Hotel – AKWAABA: 9:00am – 6:00pm
  • B2B Speed networking: 9:30am – 11:30am
  • Africa Youth Tourism Session (Paper & panel discussions): Is Tourism a sustainable business for the youth?:  11:30am – 1:30pm
  • Aviation day (paper & panel discussion): Impact of Airport Development & Airlines on Tourism Growth2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Lagos Day: 4:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Ethiopia Day: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • Raffles, Awards and Closing

As part of the countdown to the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market, the Ooni of Ife, HRM Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) has been presented with the African Travel 100 Global Tourism Personalities Award during the launch of the Oduduwa Museum at the Brazilian Embassy in Lagos recently.  

The Ooni of Ife who is the Custodian of 15 famous festivals among which is the world famous Olojo Festival scheduled for October, is the Special guest of honour for the 1st African Diaspora Tourism Conference which is part of the line-up of events at this year’s AKWAABA African Travel Market. Now in its 18th year, the Africa Travel 100 Awards has recognized leaders, industry practitioners and the government officials who have promoted tourism and improved travel using unique platforms and new information.

The African Tourism Diaspora Conference 2019 is a commemoration of the 400 years of slavery, with specific reference to arrival of the first slave ship docked in America with slaves from Africa in 1619; hence the declaration of 2019 as the Year of Return. The African Travel 100 Global Personalities Awards and the African Tourism Diaspora Conference will take place on the second day of AKWAABA 2019 (September 23, 2019) at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market promises to be bigger and better than ever with confirmed participation from several countries and organisations such as, Ghana, Benin, Togo, The Gambia, Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia, Tunisia, Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, AU CIDO, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).