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Abuja, Oct. 30, 2019:

Chairman of the Carnival Calabar Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah on Wednesday Oct. 30, 2019 paid a courtesy call on the Conservator-General of the National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Musa Goni in Abuja to discuss sustainable partnership with the Service for enhanced revenue, according to information reaching More Cream Than Coffee.

In his remark the Carnival Commission Chairman, said there is need to pluck the low hanging fruits within the two organisations in other to boost the tourism sector in Nigeria. Mr. Onah affirmed that no country is better off than Nigeria in tourism, if the appropriate bodies take the bull by the horn through harnessing the country’s tourism sites.

“Nigeria is heartily endowed with natural tourist sites, but it is challenging to know that the country hasn’t harnessed the sites to a brim, forgetting that this would serve as a means to generate revenue and contribute reasonable percentage in injecting of funds to the economy.

“However, this is one amidst other reasons why I think this collaboration is very necessary at this point in time,” he added.

Similarly, Hon. Kenn Aklah, the Senior Special Assistant on Events to the Cross River State Governor who was also part of the team said there is need for National Park Service to do more conservation by improving on the facilities that would attract tourists to spend more days than expected and in turn yielding more revenue for the sector and the government.

“It is high time the National Park Service looked inward and map out logical strategies that would attract revenue generation. This would in no small measure boost the tourism sector in Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the International Consultant of the Carnival Calabar, Ambassador Ikechi Uko said that the National Park Service should step up by doing all it can to re-brand the parks to bring the service to greater lime light.

“It is better we tell our story by ourselves rather than foreigners telling the story for us. We need to work on giving the Nigeria tourism sector a new face lift so that the story can be better told and that’s one other reason why we are here to soliciting for.”

Reacting to the Carnival Calabar team, the Conservator-General, Dr. Ibrahim Goni expressed delight in all that was said and pledged to support every objective move that will bring National Park Service to lime light and generate the expected returns on investment.

“It’s a great deal to have Nigerians as your team who have passion for their country’s tourism sector. I have listened to you all and be rest assured that this discussion would be critically looked into perhaps the tourism sector would indeed take a new dimension with this anticipated collaboration if really found worthy,” he expressed.

He said that the private sector will be encouraged to partner with National Park Service so as to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Source: Oru Leonard (Oru Media)

Ahead of the 2019 Carnival Calabar first official Dry Run scheduled for Sunday, October 20, 2019, a team of joint-stakeholders went on a recce of the approved routes for the event on Saturday, October 19, 2019.

The team comprised of members of the Carnival Commission, the International Carnival Consultant, some band leaders, security agencies, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) which has been given sole mandate to manage all the carnival routes; the Fire Service, and the media among others.

Chairman of the Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr Gabe Onah who spoke alongside the Senior Special Adviser (Governors Office & Event Management), Hon. Ken Aklah stated that the purpose of the inspection was to establish in the minds of all the stakeholders, the consciousness of the new thinking of the Governor on Carnival Calabar 2019.

“The desire of His Excellency the Governor is to create new excitement and bring something new because as we break new grounds our competitors want to get to where we are.

“This is therefore a combine pre-route recce ahead of dry run tomorrow October 20, 2019 and we are doing this jointly because we want to introduce new things. The recce is to estimate how long it will take despite dancing and stopping on the street to calibrate on time spent which is essential for the carnival, the participants and the spectators.”

Continuing, Onah who sued for cooperation of all the stakeholders said there are newly introduced performance points around the traditional five adjudication points on the twelve kilometre carnival routes.

The Chairman informed that the Governor introduced these new performance points to bring more excitement on the roads in other to engage both the tourists and the spectators who in the past often had long waiting periods before the band procession arrived.

“Performance point one is LG office by Mary Slessor, while point two is from Mary Slessor to Marian by Barrack Road junction. Performance point three is at Governors Boot, point four is at Apples Fast food on Marian, while point five is at Channelview Hotels.

“DOPT has the sole right to man all the carnival routes. Some of these routes will be permanently locked down.” Mr. Onah declared.

The recce/inspection team had in attendance, representatives of the Carnival media partners, such as DStv, AIT, NTA, TVC and Aljazeera.

The Cross River State government has introduced fire fighting mechanism and safety measures to forestall destruction and guarantee the safety of lives and property during the 2019 Carnival Calabar, as preparations are in top gear for the first Dry Run of the global fiesta scheduled for Sunday October 20, 2019.

With an ever increasing global audience due to the steady growth of the month-long festival billed as “Africa’s Biggest Street Party,” Carnival Calabar has come a long way since 2004 when it was inaugurated and the need to improve on safety and safety-consciousness becomes increasingly crucial. This was pointed out by the International Consultant to the event, Mr Ikechi Uko who made it known during a recce and mapping up of the carnival routes on Saturday.

Citing recent fire disaster in Lagos and Onitsha, Ikechi Uko said there is a need for preparedness for control and the prevention of unexpected fire outbreak.

“Carnival Calabar has become a household name globally and our desire to introduce fire service is not restricted to fires in buildings alone, it includes safety to incidences, flood disasters as well as other natural and man-made disasters.

“Again that will include fire service in Carnival Calabar Safety apparatus shown that we are complying with the international best practices on Safety and Disaster management” he said.

Chairman of Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr Gabe Onah said the awareness of the new development of fire service operating in full swing in the Carnival activities will commence immediately.

He used the opportunity to called on the Fire Service to partner the Commission on awareness campaigns to emphasize fire safety measures before, during and after the Carnival.

The Director of Cross River State fire service, Mr Don Ugbe who was part of the stakeholders meeting assured the readiness of his officers and men on enforcement, public enlightenment programmes and impact reduction during the exercise.

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.

The 15th Akwaaba African Travel Market is about three weeks away, and the excitement is already gathering momentum towards the biggest conglomeration in West Africa of the finest travel and tourism professionals from around the world.

Scheduled for 22nd – 24th of September at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, Akwaaba African Travel Market is an annual B2B travel expo organised by ATQNews.com.

Here’s a list of 10 things to look out for at Akwaaba African Travel Market 2019.

  • 1st African Tourism Diaspora Conference 2019

This year’s expo will witness the 1st African Tourism Diaspora Conference 2019 as part of the commemoration of 400 years – when the first slave ship docked in America with slaves from Africa in 1619.

First on the list of confirmed speakers for the Conference is the Ooni of Ife, HRM Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II). Others include: Alhaji Bamanga Tukur (Executive President), African Business Roundtable; Prof. Godfrey Nzamujo (Songhai Integrated Agriculture); Thomas Mensah (Creative Fibre Optics); Alain St. Ange (former Minister of Tourism, Seychelles); Carol I. Hay (Caribbean Tourism Organization); Fabien Anthony (Pan-African Council); and Sharon Palacio (Belize). The event is slated for the second day of expo September 23, 2019.

  • The African Travel 100 Global Tourism Personalities Awards

Also slated for Day 2 of Akwaaba African Travel Market 2019 is the African Travel 100 Global Tourism Personalities Awards. The award is designed to honour personalities who have exemplified themselves immensely and contributed to the growth of the travel and tourism industry in Africa and the Diaspora. For a list of some of the winners click here.

  • The 3rd Jollof Rice War

The Jollof Rice War made its début at Akwaaba African Travel Market 2017 as a subtle campaign for culinary tourism and the cooking contest was won by the Orange Cap Chef from Nigeria. This year’s gastronomic slugfest promises to be a bigger tantalizing delight as a shortlist of twenty chefs from four countries have been released by ATQNews.com with the prominent Nigerian woman of many parts Senator Florence Ita-Giwa (Mama Bakassi) as celebrity chef.

The judges for the event include: Didier Bayeye (Sun International) and Safie Ali (CEO, Sathco African Safaris), with Charity Githinji (Tandaza Africa) as chief judge. The event is billed for the opening day of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Sept. 22, 2019.

  • Aviation Conference 2019

AFRAA’s Director (Government, Legal & Industry Affairs), Aaron Munetsi is the lead speaker at the Akwaaba 2019 Aviation Conference which has the theme: Impact of Airport Development & Airlines on Tourism Growth. Other speakers for the conference slated for Day 3, Sept. 24, 2019 include: Nick Fadugba (African Aviation Services), Sean Mendis (Africa World Airlines AWA), Alice Katiti (RwandAir), Ohis Ehimiaghe (South African Airways SAA), and Hafeez Balogun (Kenya Airways KQ).

  • Youth Tourism Conference 2019

The Youth Tourism Conference has been a part of the Akwaaba African travel Market line up since 2017. The topic up for discussion this year is: Is Tourism a Sustainable Business for the Youth? and it will feature the likes of Chiamaka Obuekwe (Social Prefect), Odion Chigbufue (Tour Brokers Int’l), Oludayo Taiwo (Aeroport), Tina Nwanya (NjeTours), Segbenu Olusola (TravelAfcon), Tosin Lawson (African Things), Derin Shotunde (Deerin Meat Food Products) and Ezekwe Christopher (DIP Tours). The session will be moderated by Wonuola Olatunde-Lamidi (Diamonds & Pearls Travel).

  • Catch A Glimpse of Dubai

While several destinations have been part of Akwaaba African Travel Market to showcase what they have, Dubai Tourism has always gone the extra mile to enthral and dazzle the Akwaaba audience. They are back again this year, bigger and better with the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria, Fahd Obaid Mohammad Al Tafaq schedule to make his very first appearance at Akwaaba. A Glimpse of Dubai (featuring Breakfast, Presentation & Updates, Q&A and Raffle Draw) is scheduled for Sept. 23, 2019 between 9:30 and 11:30 am.

  • Carnival Calabar

Akwaaba African Travel Market has never been devoid of fun and entertainment, and the Carnival Calabar dancers have always been around to add colour and spice to the occasion with their vibrant carnival dresses and exciting dancing. This year should be no exception.

  • See Ghana. Eat Ghana. Wear Ghana. Feel Ghana…

Ghana has been at the forefront of the commemoration of the 400-year of slavery with the West African country officially declaring 2019 as Year of Return. Ghana and Nigeria share a certain fraternal competitiveness which sometimes involves table-shaking episodes. Ghana Tourism has been part of the Akwaaba story – for the record the word Akwaaba which means welcome is of Ghanaian origin. There was a time in Nigeria when the story was “Ghana Must Go” but this time around, Ghana Must Return

  • The Smiling Coast…

The Gambia may be mainland Africa’s smallest country, but it is certainly not a pushover as far as tourism is concerned. The West African nation fondly called the Smiling Coast of Africa gets a high influx of visitors each year making tourism one of its major economic drivers. Recently, the DG of the Gambia Tourism Board, Abdoulie Hydara confirmed The Gambia’s participation at Akwaaba stating that Nigeria is a very important market for Gambian tourism.

Trivia: Did you know that The Gambia is the birthplace of Kunta Kinte? The Gambia used to host a biennial Roots Homecoming Festival which brought the African Diaspora to the country.

  • Caribbean Tourism Organization

There is an expected strong presence of the Caribbean at Akwaaba this year following the relationship established between the organizers and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). The Caribbean Day is 23rd Sept. 2019 and expected guests include: the High Commissioner of Jamaica to Nigeria, His Excellency Esmond Reid; Director of Marketing CTO, Carol I. Hay; Fabien Anthony and Sharon Palacio. There will be music, provided by DJ Steel Pan with rum cake and rum to share. Yah man! Big things a gwan down at Akwaaba 2019. Maximum respect! Lawd ah mercy!

Much More…

The exhibition stands will be jam-packed with tourism boards and several businesses taking advantage of the occasion to showcase their brands, products and services. You don’t want to miss out! To participate, register here now!