Publisher of the Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex Ibru

The publisher of the Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex Ibru will be the Special Guest of Honour to open the 2021 edition of Akwaaba. Akwaaba African Travel Market will be on the 29th and 30th November. She will join a growing list of female VIPs that have had the honour of opening the biggest travel and tourism event in West Africa.

The list includes the former Zimbabwe Minister of Tourism Mrs. Anastacia Ndlovu; former Minister of Housing, Nigeria Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi and Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain and UNWTO. As the Special Guest she will cut the tape at 12 noon and speak on the ‘Role of the Media in Promoting Tourism and Travels’.

Mrs Alex-Ibru is a major stakeholder in tourism as one of the owners of Federal Palace Hotel and the Sheraton Lagos Hotel Ikeja. Also coming as a guest Speaker for this years’ event is Turaki Nura Kangiwa, Director General, of National Institute Of Hospitality And Tourism, NIHOTOUR. He will be the Guest Speaker at this year’s Hospitality Day on the 30th of November. It will be his first Akwaaba as Director General, NIHOTOUR. He will be supporting the Special Guest Otunba Segun Runsewe the Director General, National Council For Arts And Culture (NCAC).

NIHOTOUR was a pioneer exhibitor at Akwaaba African Travel Market in 2004 and past DG Alhaji Munzali Dantata was also a guest at Akwaaba. Recently Akwaaba went into a partnership with NIHOTOUR for the Training of Tourism Professionals in Nigeria(NTSC). The 2 day Travel Market will have exhibitors from Dubai, Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria and East Africa. It will be smaller in size than the 2019 edition as Organisers seek to impose Covid19 Protocols on the event.

The Hospitality day is making a comeback to Akwaaba as it was last held in 2016. At this Year’s Hospitality Day various issues will be treated by experts. Turaki Nura Kangiwa will speak on “How to Scale Hospitality Training to Meet International Standards”. A Panel that will include Tana Forsuelo of Wavecrest, Victor Kayode of NHCI and Justina Ovat – President Women in Hospitality Nigeria will treat the Topic appropriately.

How has Hotels Helped the Tourism industry recover from the Pandemic Lockdown is a hot Issue and Amaechi Ndili President Golden Tulip Hotels West Africa will be speaking on that “The Role of Hotels in the Leisure Economy & Tourism Recovery.”

Since the 2013 Supreme Court Judgement that took away the powers of the Federal Government to regulate tourism, how has the industry responded? What are the grey areas and what should the practitioners do? Chief Sam Alabi, Chairman BOT of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN a Lawyer will Speak on “The Limits of State Regulation of Tourism and Hospitality Businesses”.

The Fallout of that Judgement is on Hotel Classification. That Topic will be discussed by the stakeholders and the 3 States that have made very serious attempts at organising their Hotel environment. The topic, “State Registration and Classification of Hotels: The Journey So Far” will be handled by Alhaji Badaki Aliyu, the First National Deputy President of FTAN, Professor Wasiu Babalola, Senior Vice President for Africa, Continent Worldwide Hotels, Eric Anderson the Commissioner of Tourism Cross River State, Mr. Ini Akpabio Chairman Akwa Ibom Hotel and Tourism Board and Princess Adenike Adedoyin the Permanent Secretary Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture.

The African Travel Market will begin on the 29th of November with the Youth Tourism Panel. The Panel consists of the champions and pioneers of domestic tourism in Nigeria. They are expected to share their experiences on how they started and how they survived the Challenges and the Future Plans. The Plan will have the pioneer of Instagram Tourism Promotions in Nigeria, Chiamaka Obuekwe CEO of Social Prefect Tours. She will be joined by Bolaji Seun of Naija Explorers, Dr. Onifade Adekunle Eedris of Universal Aviation School, Aminat Akanbi, CEO of Triplisters, Cordis Marianuela Umeokoli, CEO of Mardis Travels and Sam Adeleke of Travelwith SamGlobal.

The session will be moderated by Obinna Emelike, the Tourism and Art Editor Bussinesday Newspapers. Olugbenga Sunday Omotayo the Promoter of Idere Hills in Oyo State will also share his experience on how he moved from Hotel Management to Destination Manager.

The Second Panel will be on “Outbound Tours & Travel Tears” What are the Challenges Tour Operators go through in handling international Tours? How can they be handled? A high level Panel from the 2 leading Travel Associations of NATOP and NANTA will treat this issue. The panelists will include the current President of NANTA, Susan Akporiaye and will be moderated by the Vice President of NATOP and Lagos Coordinator FTAN, Ime Udo.

Other panelists are David Lamidi, the Co-Founder of Diamond and Pearl Travels, Shalom Asuquo -Ankoh of Travel Lab, Cecile Doumbe of CMD Tours, Odion Chigbufue of Tour Brokers International TBI, Egbane Pelagie, the Chief Experience Curator, 3Cords Leisure and Vacation and Gbenga Onitilo of Wakanow.

The 2nd Batch of the Nigerian Tourism Specialist Certificate course NTSC will also hold on Monday. The Top 20 Natural Wonders of Nigeria the Naija7wonders will be unveiled on Tuesday the 30th of November by some Special Guests. The Special Guests are the 3 members of Tourism 100 Club who were recently upgraded by Government and their Association.

They are Princess Surah Animashaun who got elected as Chairman EPE LGA, Piriye Kiriyamo who has been appointed as the SSA Tourism to the Governor of Bayelsa State and Nkereuwem Onung who got elected as the President of the Tourism Federation in Nigeria.

The exhibitions will end with the usual celebrations of Lagos Day at Akwaaba. Because of the pandemic rules the Lagos Day will not be as elaborate as expected. The Hosted Buyer packages and Boat Cruise will not hold as usual but delegates will be hosted on the 1st of December to the opening ceremony of the Greater Lagos Fiesta by Lagos State Government. International Delegates at Akwaaba African Travel Market will be guests at the Annual African Movie Academy Awards AMAA taking Place on the 28th of November.

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