Finally, recognition has come the way of Akwabba African Travel Market, which is the brainchild of Ikechi Uko, the publisher of ATQNEWS and organised by Akwaaba Travel Market Limited, as the Lagos State government has announced its adoption of the event as official state event and gazette as such.
Akwabba, which has held for over a decade in Lagos State is a travel and tourism trade exhibition and conference event, which is dedicated to promoting and marketing Africa tourism to the world as well as exposing Nigeria, and Lagos State, to the world.
The event, which yearly attracts hundreds of visitors and tourism suppliers, buyers, experts and governments from Africa and other parts of the world, is according to Ayorinde, a positive move in the right direction, which reiterates the state commitment to tourism and culture promotion throughout the year.
It was the only tourism fair listed in calendar of events released by the state government and it is the only international travel fair in West Africa in partnership with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC); listed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); and the only member of the International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA) in West Africa.
The first Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) was held in Lagos in 2005. Uko who is delighted by this development, which he described as a reward for vision and consistency, said: ‘‘The fair has opened the door to Nigeria and Africa tourism markets and served as a platform for exchange of cultural and tourism potentials among participating countries.
Akwaaba is the official travel partner for the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA). To foster the relationship of East Africa with West Africa, East Africa adopts Akwaaba African Travel Market as the official tourism expo in West Africa; and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopts Akwaaba African Travel Market as the official travel expo in the region of West Africa.
Over the years, attendance include former president of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo; former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Sir Emeka Anyaoku; former Vice President of Nigeria, late Chief Alex Ekwueme; Executive Secretary of ATA, Eddie Bergman; Others include Heads of States of African nations; governors; ambassadors; heads of tourism boards both local and foreign, CEOs of corporations; heads of International Institutions; General manager of hotels, airlines; tour operators and travel agents; celebrities and the media.
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