AKWAABA – five days and counting


(Posted 21st October 2014)

Organizers of the annual AKWAABA African Travel Market, West Africa’s most important tourism trade show, will no doubt have had a combined breath of relief when Nigeria was yesterday declared Ebola free after the single location outbreak had been contained with vigour and the mandatory waiting period elapsed without any further cases found.

AKWAABA has in recent years began to attract a lot of attention from East African exhibitors and there has been some element of doubt over this year’s attendance, given the recent Ebola scare. With now just days to go can those who were not entirely sure now race to the Nigerian High Commissions and secure a Visa to attend AKWAABA, hopefully the diplomatic bureaucrats taking hours rather than days or weeks to grant the Visa for late comers to the travel market.

Kenya Airways continues to fly multiple daily flights to Nigeria where it serves the capital Abuja besides the commercial capital of Lagos and RwandAir too offers daily connections via Kigali, giving plenty of options how to get to Lagos and hard sell East Africa to the lucrative Nigerian market.

Meanwhile did AKWAABA 2014 also get a significant boost when East Africa’s tourism bodies embraced the event at the recent stakeholder workshop hosted by the Kenya Tourism Board at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi at the end of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo, where representatives from Nigeria were also present to dispel fears over Ebola and reiterate the invitation by the Nigerian tourism fraternity for East Africa to join.

This has lifted AKWAABA to the level of global tourism must attend events like WTM in London, ITB in Berlin, INDABA in South Africa and JATA in Japan. Now in its eight year, the first AKWAABA was held in 2007, has the travel market also partnered with the Africa Travel Association which is based in New York, to promote travel to and across Africa and finally make headway to increase the pathetic global travel figures to Africa which out of over 1.1 billion travelers last year only saw 56 million come to our own continent.

Similar to the symposium day held prior to the just ended Magical Kenya Travel Expo is AKWAABA also featuring dedicated seminars and workshops for participants, important platforms to learn about the opportunities and how to deal with the challenges the African tourism stakeholders presently face.

All the best for the upcoming AKWAABA 2014 and happy landings and safe travels to all the participants from Eastern Africa attending the event.

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