Ikechi Uko


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)

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®

Nigeria’s travel and tourism expert, Mr. Ikechi Uko has said that the country’s aviation industry will remain stunted and not growing beyond what obtains today in the sector until there is a masterplan that stipulates why the country engages in aviation.

Ikechi Uko stated that there is no clear description on why the country engages in aviation operations, noting that “Today we do Aviation for the sake of Aviation. Aviation is done for the sake of Transportation.”

I was the head of the Tourism Subcommittee of Vision 20-2020 and I have read most policy documents on aviation development in Nigeria and most are based on aviation for the sake of aviation.

He pointed out that only one airline, Air Peace which is the country’s biggest carrier, has articulated a business case for aviation. According to him, the airlines has constantly reiterated that it is in the industry to create jobs for the teeming youths in the country with a projected number of 200 workers to an aircraft.

“I heard the former Minister, Hadi Sirika quoted at the Senate hearing that it is 300 workers for a plane to justify need for National Carrier.”

“Aviation in Dubai is for Tourism and Tourism is for National Development and Strategic Economic positioning. Today it is a global hub and the 4th most visited City in the world. This would not happen without Emirates and the easy Visa Regime.”

“Qatar grows Aviation for Strategic Diplomatic and Economic Prowess. A small country is able to extend its reach and influence globally.”

“All Medium Powers use Aviation as a Soft power tool for Global positioning or Economic development.”

Why do we do Aviation in Nigeria? He queried. He said nobody has defined a need outside Transportation.

“Without a well-defined business case captured in a National Development Masterplan we will keep going round in circles.”

“Ghana built a new Airport Terminal and gives out 5th Freedom Rights to anyone who asks in order to build a hub. They added Visa on Arrival and offered residence and Citizenship rights to African Diaspora. They bid and got the AfCTA Headquarters to drive a M.I.C.E and Business Hub. These are intertwined and planned to grow Tourism and Build the Economy.”

“Zimbabwe invested in the upgrade of Victoria Falls Airport and almost Doubled their Tourism figures for Victoria Falls. The $150m upgrade was not for Harare Airport but Victoria Falls.

“South Africa will not allow South African Airways (SAA), collapse for the simple fact that the country makes more money from Trade and Tourism than it loses to SAA and without SAA the Tourism figures will drop.

Rwanda is a small country with big global ambitions that is also Landlocked with some hostile neighbours any wonder Aviation is a National Priority? Same for Ethiopia and Uganda.”

“So Nigeria has to decide why it needs Aviation then build an appropriate strategy to deliver on that.”

“I was the head of the Tourism Subcommittee of Vision 20-2020 and I have read most policy documents on aviation development in Nigeria and most are based on aviation for the sake of aviation.

“Aviation policy makers need to discuss with economic planners and tourism stakeholders to develop a workable and sustainable plan for growth then aviation in Nigeria will thrive” he said.

Source: ATQNews.com

Accra, the capital city of Ghana played host once again to West Africa’s regional travel and tourism expo, the Accra Weizo and La Palm Royal Beach Hotel was once again the venue of the two-day event which brought together travel and tourism industry professionals from West Africa and other parts.

Jointly organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ikechi Uko-led Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM), the fifth Accra Weizo opened on Friday June 28, 2019. In his address, Ghana’s Minister of Aviation, Hon. Joseph Kofi Adda noted that despite the increased liberalization of the African aviation industry, some African governments are still hesitant on opening their skies due to fear that foreign competition could undercut their national carriers, some of which are short of commercial viability and merely symbols of sovereignty. He stated however that;

“Ghana on the other hand believes in the liberalization of the skies to boost connectivity and had shown commitment to this by being amongst the African countries who have signed to the Yamoussoukro decision (YD) and SAATM. For West Africa to realise its full potential growth, much emphasis must be placed on connectivity and ease of movement of passengers and goods across borders.

However, enhancing connectivity within the sub-region goes hand in hand with increasing the level of safety and security. These two should be key priorities for the development of seamless travel in the West African and the development of the aviation industry as a whole. The African authorities have endorsed an African Union (AU) backed plan aimed at addressing deficiencies related to aviation safety and security and strengthening the regulatory framework.”

For West Africa to realise its full potential growth, much emphasis must be placed on connectivity and ease of movement of passengers and goods across borders.

He further stated that: “Seamless air transportation will create the market opportunities for local entrepreneurs by creating regional and global economic centers. This is in line with plans of Government in its facilitation of the Continental free trade Area (CFTA) by the Africa Union.  Growth in air transport has directly maps into economic growth due to spill over effects through creation of direct and indirect jobs in the industry and other auxiliary sectors such as tourism and other services sectors. By facilitating tourism and trade, it generates economic growth, improves living standards, alleviates poverty and increases revenue from taxes.”

Several goodwill messages were delivered by various top industry gurus present at the event. Among them was the irrepressible Director-General of the National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC) of Nigeria and recipient of the 2019 Balafon Travel Award for Tourism Man of the Year, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe who took the audience on a history lesson of the mutual camaraderie between Nigeria and Ghana.

The Nigeria-Ghana Friendship club is to champion the course for the unity, peace, stability and development of Nigeria and Ghana in particular and the West Africa sub-region at large.

Citing examples of several football legends like Yakubu Mabo who played for Nigeria and scored the first goal at the Nigeria National Stadium when it was commissioned in the ‘70s, Otunba Runsewe pointed out that Mabo was actually Ghanaian born. He also mentioned Abdul Razak who captained the Black Stars of Ghana but was actually a Nigerian, among several others. Otunba Runsewe then seized the opportunity to propose the Nigeria-Ghana Friendship Club, which was adopted and subsequently launched later in the day. According to Otunba Runsewe;

“As brothers and neighbours, there is a lot Nigeria and Ghana stand to gain by evolving informal platforms of collaborations and strengthened sub-regional solidarity.

The Nigeria-Ghana Friendship club is to champion the course for the unity, peace, stability and development of Nigeria and Ghana in particular and the West Africa sub-region at large.”

Other goodwill messages were delivered by the Director of Dubai Tourism (Africa), Ms. Stella Fubara; Mr. Austin Cobham, Executive Secretary of Carnival Calabar Commission; Thekiso Rakolojane, Regional Head of South African Tourism (West Africa); Mrs. Olanma Ojukwu (GOTA Voyage, Benin Republic), etc.

Stella Fubara
Austin Cobham
Thekiso Rakolojane
Olanma Ojukwu

The day featured two panels of discussion on aviation and M.I.C.E. respectively, and the presentation of the Balafon Travel Awards, while entertainment interludes to spice things up was provided by the Calabar Carnival queens.

*Images of award presentation and launch of Nigeria-Ghana Friendship Club courtesy of GH-Aviation.

All is set for the 2019 Accra Weizo travel and tourism expo which kicks off today 28-06-2019 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra Ghana. Stakeholders, exhibitors, buyers and other participants have already arrived in the Ghanaian capital, Accra for the West African regional travel trade show which is in its fifth year.

The two-day event which will feature panel discussions and paper presentations, Balafon Awards, as well as exhibitions, product launch and a host of entertainment activities is set to become the biggest in the history of the expo which is being jointly organised this time around by Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Akwaaba African Travel Market.

Part of activities lined up for today include a paper presentation by Hon. Koffi Adda, the Minister of Aviation, Ghana titled SEAMLESS TRAVEL IN WEST AFRICA: Challenges & Prospects of Inter-Connecting West Africa; while a panel of discussants to be moderated by Mr. Ikechi Uko the founder of ATQNews.com will deliberate on the topic: Passenger Experience, Civil Aviation Rules & Immigration Processes in Inter-Connecting West Africa.

Other activities for the day are the presentation of the Balafon Awards, and a paper presentation on M.I.C.E. titled Using M.I.C.E to Drive Tourism. There will also be a panel to discuss The Business of Hosting Conferences & Events.

Day 2 of Accra Weizo will feature a paper presentation titled, Culinary Tourism as a Tool for Differentiating Country Brands by the Director General (DG) of the Nigeria Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe with a panel discussion following. There will be a second panel discussion on Using Entertainment to Drive Tourism in West Africa while exhibitions, networking and other activities continues until the event draws to a close later in the evening.

Earlier in the week, the GTA hosted a group of Nigerian tour operators and media persons on a familiarisation tour of the Western region of Ghana. The tour included visits to Nzulezu floating village, Cape Coast Castle and site inspections of some spectacular accommodation facilities like the luxurious Maaha Beach Resort in Anokyi. The group was hosted to a dinner by the Minister of the Western Region, Hon. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah and members of his cabinet in Takoradi on Wednesday June 26.

For over a decade, AKWAABA: Africa Travel Market has presented a unique opportunity for African professionals in travel, hospitality and related services to meet, network and conduct business with other industry players from around the world.

In 2016, the travel expo marked its marks the 12th edition. The official tape cutting of the opening ceremony was performed by the Deputy-Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Zimbabwe, Honorable Anastancia Ndhlovu MP with several dignitaries in attendance.

MoreCreamThanCoffee.com was there to record this landmark in the evolution of the event, and contributions of ATQNews.com, organisers of the expo to the tourism industry in Nigeria, Africa, and the world at large.

Accra, Ghana: June 22, 2018…

The 4th edition of Accra Weizo, an annual B2B travel, tourism & hospitality industry trade show opened with a bang on June 22, 2018 at the La-Palm Royal Beach Resort in Accra, Ghana. Shortly after a brisk tea & coffee breakfast participants and guests settled in for the opening session of the day, the forum on aviation which kicked off at about 10:30am.

On the panel were the MD of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi; Alex Nwuba, CEO of Ghana-based Smile Airlines, Richard Kyereh of Africa World Airlines (AWA), Chike Ogeah, Vice-Chairman of SAHCOL; as well as representatives of Ethiopian Airlines and Nigeria-based Air Peace, as they tackled issues such as: Why West African Airlines fail Easily and the Future, Interlining In West Africa: A Possibility or Mirage? Integrating West African Airport System, etc. under the topic “Harnessing the Opportunities of the Aviation Value Chain in West Africa.”

One of the key reasons behind the initiation of Accra Weizo was to facilitate “seamless travel in West Africa” and four years down the road, it seems that dream has received a major fillip as three key airline operators who were on the panel, (Sanusi, Nwuba and Kyereh) have decided to work out an interlining agreement to ease air travel.

Later in the day, the second session which was centred on the standardisation in the hospitality industry threw up a ‘controversy’ which immediately went viral. During the discussions, the MD of Golden Tulip, Accra stated that there are no chefs in Ghana, only cooks. The statement which has since been clarified was a made to buttress his point on deciding the yardstick for standardisation, and actually points to the fact that, if the chefs were to be graded according to international standard, they will fall sort because there are no training institutes in the country for chefs.

In between the very rich and invigorating sessions, guests were treated to robust performances by the formidable Ghana Queens and exciting Carnival Calabar girls. The Balafon Awards presentation also took place and among the list of winners was: Stella Fubara, Director of Dubai Tourism (Africa) who bagged the Tourism Personality of the Year in West Africa.

Other winners include: Carnival Calabar – Tourism Event of the Year, Hon. Catherine Afeku – Tourism Minister of the Year, Captain Ado – Aviation Man of the Year, Mrs. Uloma Egbuna, MD Tour Brokers International – Tourism Man of the Year, and Hon Cecilia Dappah – Aviation Minister of the Year, among others.

On Day 2, the event featured a series of engaging presentations by Dubai Tourism, South Africa Tourism, Air Peace, Carnival Calabar, while there was an interactive session that followed as discussants evaluated the roles of traditional media and the effects of influencers/celebrities on destination marketing. There were more performances by the Ghana Queens and Carnival Calabar girls, while the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) was on hand to fete guests with enough to eat and drink. The event which took place inside the Adae Kesie Hall witnessed an impressive turn out.

June 19, 2018

…and we are in Ghana, our West African neighbour and rival, especially when it comes to arguing who does what best among many things, Jollof rice. Anyway, the occasion is the 4th Accra Weizo scheduled for the 22nd and 23rd of June, 2018. We arrived ahead of the event straight from Lagos, so we can take part in the pre-Weizo tour and our first port of call is Ho!

About to cross into Ghana from Togo
At the Aflao Border in Ghana

Ho is in the Volta Region and is quite close to Togo. Well, Aflao is the border town, and Ho is about a 1hr 30mins drive from Aflao. You can actually go from Ho to Kpalime in Togo. We arrived at Chances Hotel in Ho and it’s quite a massive facility. Ho is an interesting place, growing as it were with a new airport which has not welcomed a flight in yet. According to sources, the runway is too short.

Restaurant at Chances Hotel, Ho

We enjoyed a good dinner and good cultural entertainment at Chances Hotel. Besides that, we were back to our rooms. Call time tomorrow is 7am. It’s all good. Today is really more of arrival day…

With the 4th Accra Weizo about a month away, the organisers have called on the general public to send in their nominees for the Balafon West Africa Travel Awards. Accra Weizo was launched four years ago with the vision to turn West Africa with its 15 countries and 380 million people into a Domestic Tourism Destination.

Twenty five 25 speakers drawn from different fields in the industry have been enlisted by the organisers of Accra Weizo to grace this year’s event scheduled to hold at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra. The Honorable Minister of Aviation for Ghana Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaahwill be opening the 4th Accra Weizo on the 22nd of June with a paper presentation ‘Harnessing the Opportunities in Aviation value chain in West Africa.’

For the Balafon West African Travel Awards, an award committee made up of travel.professionals from six ECOWAS countries will decide the winners. However, you can have a say by sending your nomination(s) to accraweizo@gmail.com

This is for performance from 2017 and for the following categories:

  1. Travel Personality of the Year in West Africa 
  2. Tourism Man of the Year in West Africa
  3. Aviation Man of the Year in West Africa
  4. Hotel Personality of the Year in West Africa
  5. Best Airline in West Africa
  6. Best Hotel in West Africa 
  7. Best Airport in West Africa 
  8. Best Group Handling Company in West Africa
  9. Tourism Marketing Award West Africa
  10. Tourism Event of the Year West Africa