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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.

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.

Countdown to AviaTour 2019 taking place at the Best Western Atlantic Beach Resort Takoradi, Western Region, Ghana. It’s 6 days away. Have you registered? Log on to www.aviatourconfab.com

AviaTour Conference 2019 will feature panel discussions on “Government Role in Stimulating the Growth of Air Services and Tourist Sites to Promote Tourism in Ghana.”

Come lets deliberate on these issues to make a positive change in Ghana’s aviation and tourism industries.

It’s taking place at the Best Western Atlantic Beach Resort, Takoradi from October 2 to 4, 2019.

Organiser of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, has announced Accor as the host sponsor of Forum sur l’Investissement Hôtelier Africain (FIHA) 2020, the Francophone sister event, which will be held from March 23 to 25, 2020 at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire.

The Ivorian economy remains one of the most dynamic in the world and its remarkable success over the past decade continues to propel the country as an influential force in West African business travel and, increasingly, tourism

Jean Perrochon

Jean Perrochon, Commercial Director of Bench Events, the organisers, explained the decision to hold the FIHA in Côte d’Ivoire: “The Ivorian economy remains one of the most dynamic in the world and its remarkable success over the past decade continues to propel the country as an influential force in West African business travel and, increasingly, tourism. Fiscal discipline, private sector growth, a modernising infrastructure coupled with ambitious initiatives such as the Ministry of Tourism’s multi-billion-euro programme, ‘Sublime Côte d’Ivoire’ all combine to offer attractive investment opportunities.

“Another factor that attracted us to Abidjan is its exciting potential for hotel development. The current overall hotel supply in Côte d’Ivoire remains limited, despite significant growth since the end of the political crisis. And there’s a need for more international-quality properties, with demand coming from Europe and Africa.”

Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Tourism Siandou Fofana said: “Selecting Cote d’Ivoire to host FIHA is proof that the country deserves its ranking as third most important destination in Africa for business tourism. It also demonstrates investor confidence in our ambition to boost our tourism and hospitality industries. It will be an opportunity for the sector to showcase its potential, projects and tourism assets.”

Encouraging the development of international standard hotels is a hot topic for governments in Africa because they are essential to attract tourists and business travellers, who come bearing foreign currency, to spend and invest. Investing in hotels is becoming increasingly attractive too, for several reasons. First, because economic growth rates in many African countries are much higher than in Europe and the USA, the potential return on investment is greater. Second, because the number of hotels per head of population is a small fraction of what it is in more developed economies, there is belief in the growth potential of the market. Third, as many African countries are becoming more politically stable, investor confidence is growing.

According to the World Bank, Côte d’Ivoire has one of the most dynamic economies in the world. It has been growing at over 7%/annum for the last seven years and it is projected to keep growing at that pace for the next few years. It has a low inflation rate, below 1%, low unemployment, below 3% and steadily rising GDP per capita.

The capital, Abidjan, is re-establishing itself as a commercial centre, assisted by Africa’s second biggest port, a growing airport with direct connection to the USA and good quality infrastructure for meetings, conferences and exhibitions. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), reports that tourism currently constitutes 10% of the Ivorian economy and it is forecast to grow at 6.6% per annum.

Accor Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & Africa Marc Descrozaille said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Bench Events as host sponsor for FIHA 2020 at our landmark Sofitel property in Abidjan. Côte d’Ivoire is strategically important for Accor; we opened the first Novotel property in the country in 1979 and as a focal point of our accelerated African development plans, we will increase our portfolio in the market to more than 1,600 rooms by 2021.”

Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire was built in 1963 and renovated in 2011.

Source: HotelierMiddleEast.com

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 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.

PROGRAMME FOR 15TH AKWAABA TRAVEL MARKET

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

Leading travel writer and publisher of ATC News, Prof. Wolfgang Thome, has emerged as one the winners of the African Travel 100 Global Personalities Awards scheduled to take place on September 23rd at the 15th AKWAABA African Travel Market.

Prof. Thome, a German national arrived in Kenya in the mid 1970s and has lived on the African continent since, spending over four decades. In Kenya, he was active in tour operations, hotel operations and air operations, and after 17 years he moved to Uganda in 1992. Settling in, the Pearl of Africa, he went into academics and consultancy.

He became active in trade politics helping to rebuild the association framework in the tourism industry which had all collapsed after the liberation war. He helped to reactivate the hotel association, form the tour operators association, travel agents association and the umbrella body Uganda Tourism Association, which he served as president for almost eight years.

I always felt as a welcome guest in Kenya, in Uganda I’ve become part of the furniture. …when I came to Uganda I literally became Ugandan – not maybe by passport, but certainly by the feeling in my heart that I belong here.

– Prof. Wolfgang Thome

Prof. Thome is happily married. His wife is Ugandan and they met in Kenya while she was in exile. The genial and witty professor has lived in Uganda for over 25 years and was granted life residency some time ago. We, at More Cream Than Coffee® congratulate Prof. Wolfgang Thome.

An initial shortlist of winners of the African Travel 100 Global Personalities Awards has been released by the organisers, African Travel Quarterly ATQNews.com.

The African Travel 100 Global Personalities Awards is expected to honour personalities that have distinguished themselves in the travel and tourism industry and contributed to the growth of the sector in Africa and the Diaspora. The event is part of the First African Tourism Diaspora Conference 2019 to commemorate 400th anniversary of the slave trade.

The Conference which is expected to draw top tourism personalities from around the world to Lagos, Nigeria is an avenue for Africans and the Diaspora from America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world to come together and celebrate 400 years of African resilience. The Conference will take place on the 23rd of September 2019 at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos during the 15th edition of the AKWAABA African Travel Market.

AKWAABA African Travel Market is the first and biggest travel and tourism expo in West Africa. The 3-day b2b travel trade show will take place from the 22nd to 24th of September 2019.

The Africa Travel 100 Global Personalities Awards initial shortlist of winners includes:

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Rohan Vos:                         Owner of Rovos Rail (South Africa)
  • Frank Nneji:                       Owner of ABC Transport (Nigeria)

AVIATION:

  • Tewolde Gebremariam:    GCEO, Ethiopian Airlines
  • Rahel Assefa:                     VP, Ethiopian Airlines
  • Chief Allen Onyema:      Chairman Air Peace
  • Captain Solomon Quianoo:          Africa’s Top A380 Pilot (Ghana)
  • Chief Togbe Afede:         Chairman Africa World Airlines (Ghana)

TOURISM MEDIA:

  • Prof. Wolfgang Thome: ATC News (Uganda)
  • Jason Njoku:                      Publisher & Promoter IROKO TV Nigeria

TOURISM ADMINISTRATION: 

  • Najib Balala:                       Tourism Minister Kenya and CAF UNWTO President
  • Elcia Grandcourt:              Africa Representative UNWTO (Seychelles)
  • Alain St. Ange:                   Former Minister of Tourism Seychelles
  • Amb Dr. Eriaka Bennett:                 Head of mission AU Diaspora office

HOSPITALITY/ FACILITY OWNERS:

  • Ato Tadiwos Belete:       Kuriftu Resort (Ethiopia)
  • Tony Elumelu:               Chairman Transcorp Hotels (Nigeria)
  • Oskar Ibru:                    Ibru Organisations leading Hospitality Investor (Nigeria)
  • Professor Nzamujo:       Proprietor Songhai integrated Agricultural centre (Benin)
  • Mr Samih Sawiris:            Proprietor El Gouna Resort (Egypt)

TRAVEL BUSINESS:

  • Julie Dably Scott:              Kenya Travel Business Executive (CWT)
  • Femi Adefope:                  Nigeria Travel Business Owner ( HRG, CWT, GHI, APG)
  • Richard Akerele:               Logistics and Airlines Support Services (ASL Newrest)
  • Taiwo Afolabi:                   Chairman SIFAX Airport Logistics

TOUR OPERATIONS:

  • Zainab Anseil:                    Zara Tours Tanzania
  • Uloma Egbuna:                 Tour Brokers Intl, Emirate Holidays, Royal Caribbean (Nigeria)
  • Amos Wekesa:                  Ugandan Tour Operator

MICE PROMOTERS:  

  • Peace Anyiam Osigwe:  Convener Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA
  • Ben Murray Bruce:          Silverbird Galleria and Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
  • Governor Ben Ayade:    Organiser Carnival Calabar
  • Rick Taylor:                      MICE Expert (South Africa)
  • Rabbi Kohan:                    Executive Director Panafest (Ghana)
  • Tom Kunkler:                     Organiser Kilifair and S!TE (Tanzania)

HERITAGE & CULTURE:

  • Prof. Zahi Hawass:           Egyptologist & Former Curator of the Heritage of the Pharaohs
  • HRM Adeyeye Ogunwusi:            Ooni of Ife Promoter of Olojo Festival
  • HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi:          Emir of Kano, Custodian of Kano Walls and Durbar Festival
  • HRM Erediauwa Ewuare II:          Oba of Benin, Custodian of Benin Moat and Igue Festival
  • HRH Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe:       Obi of Onitsha, Promoter of Ofala Festival
  • HRM King Mswati III:                 King of Eswatini, Umhlanga Reed Dance Festival
  • Otumfuo Osei Tutu II:    Akwasidae Festival (Kumasi, Ghana)

As Ghana celebrates 2019 as the “Year of Return” in commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved African to set foot on American soil in 1619, I couldn’t help but think it should actually be tagged as the “Year of Returns.” Hey, I’m not trying to be a smarty-panty getting into semantics and stuff like that. I’m just an excited traveller who sort of likes Ghana – yeah, it’s a bit hard to admit that, but I do like Ghana – even if I vehemently maintain that Ghana Jollof is a myth lodged in the medulla of the Ghanaian people. You have to speak the truth in love, and I speak that in love.

Anyway, 2019 is the Year of Returns. There are enough reasons to make repeated trips to Ghana. The 5th Accra Weizo was the first for me and what that event has done is opened up a great yearning for Ghana returns. Indeed, Ghana has lined up a host of colourful activities throughout the entire year to mark the celebrations. As the year has gone past the halfway mark, many of the activities have taken place, but there’s still a whole lot more to come – and I honestly hope to participate in some of them. Let me say that again for emphasis: I honestly hope to participate in some of the remaining activities put together to celebrate the Year of Return. (Someone should tell the relevant authorities in Ghana.)

This exordium is already getting too long – all I want to talk about is my Accra Weizo 2019 Ghana experience, so let’s get right down to it.

I was excited going back – no, let’s use returning to Ghana instead – after all it’s the Year of Return. I had been to Ghana twice previously. The first time was okay, I was very much a wary traveller, so I couldn’t get much.

Cape Coast Castle: My first visit to Ghana in 2015

However, last year showed me a new side of the country formerly known as Gold Coast. It was all thanks to Accra Weizo 2018. We had a familiarisation tour of the Volta and Eastern Regions. The topography of the Volta Region in particularly struck a chord in me and I feel deep in my bones I should own a piece of property in Ho.

Accra Weizo 2018: At the Akosombo Dam, Lake Volta

Now, some of you can understand why I wanted to marry some Ghanaians. It’s pretty simple: I was told if you marry a Ghanaian, you’ll be given land. So I figured if married a couple of Ghanaian ladies, I’ll have enough land. Anyway, every lady I asked on this return trip to Ghana says it’s not true. Well, I forgive you all – and forgive myself. I still love Ghana though.

The Western and Central Regions of Ghana had been advertised by the organisers of Accra Weizo as the destination for this year’s familiarisation tour, and I looked forward to it with much excitement. My first visit to Ghana took me to Cape Coast and Elmina in the Central Region. I was supposed to get to the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region, but I never made it there. So I was really fired up for this trip. It was a chance to see Cape Coast again and then finally set my foot on the Western Region.

We set out from Lagos, Nigeria on Monday June 24. We – a couple of media persons selected by the organisers of Accra Weizo – arrived late at the Golden Tulip, Accra some minutes past 23:00 hours. (Yeah, some little hindrances happened along the way, but we don’t want to mess up a good narrative now, do we)?

…to be continued…