The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has confirmed he will attend the African Tourism Diaspora Conference as the special guest of honour, at the 15th Akwaaba African Travel Market, from September 22 to 24, 2019, in Lagos.
The Oba will be addressing not just the Yoruba nation at the event on September 23 but the global African diaspora on vital steps in bringing African cultures together to grow its people. The Ooni, in his remark while receiving the Akwaaba team who came to invite him on the sidelines of a NATOP visit, said “there are over 500 million Yorubas across the world and the ancestral home of Ile-Ife is ready to welcome them when they visit Nigeria.”
He said the African Tourism Diaspora conference was a great platform and timely for this important conversation to be held. Akwaaba will present the African Tourism Diaspora Conference on September 23, 2019, as a part of the week-long African Travel Market. Africa with 54 countries and a population of 1.2 billion has unbelievable tourism attractions. The African diaspora and Africa have same unique culture, a rich heritage and beautiful destinations for tourism and trade, therefore, there is a need to connect and combine these wonderful cultures and population together as a market for mutual benefit. The organisers have also announced a partnership deal with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, UK chapter, for this year’s event. The partnership was signed last year at the World Travel Market in London. The Caribbean Tourism Organisation represents the tourism board of the Caribbean Islands. At the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s annual general meeting in London, Dein Gbabo, business development manager, Akwaaba Travel Market, made a presentation about the upcoming event in September to participants.
The CTO members were very excited to explore the African market for the very first time this year, and will be using Akwaaba as a platform to shore up tourist traffic from the continent and also showcase the beautiful tourists’ sites of the Caribbean Islands. The CTO’s participation at the exhibitions was announced to partners as part of the Caribbean month’s events of 2019.
The AGM had a good turnout of partners from British Airways, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Dominican, St. Vincents and the Grenadines, tour operators, influencers and destination marketing companies and also featured a panel discussion on the topic “Under the Influence: Paving the Way for Diversity in Travel.”
There was a panel discussion on the use of influencers for destination marketing, diversity in marketing products to meet product specification and audience and creating experiences and cultural inclusion to travel.
The CTO had last year in London signed up for the Akwaaba 2019 during the World Travel Market. Mr. Ikechi Uko, organiser of the event, said Africa and its diaspora outposts have had a very strange relationship over the years because of the unfortunate history of slavery and slave trade. They need each other in a complimentary way but have not yet worked out how to relate. Tourism could be a sure way to build a sustainable relationship, he explained, adding that “2019 marks the 400 years of slavery since 1619 when the first Africans were taken by force to the Caribbean and the Americas, a very sensitive development, which has kept a strange relationship between Africans and her diaspora. It presents the opportunity to celebrate the merging of Africans, Americans, Caribbean and the rest of the world during this memorable gathering. The African Diaspora Tourism conference presents a platform to discuss, initiate, dialogue and celebrate this new relationship.”
The conference goals include serving as an educational tool for international leaders with regard to cultural heritage tourism, promoting visitation and tourism to participating countries, cities and destinations to help stimulate their economies networking among leaders and bridging the communication gap thereafter.
In 2016, Akwaaba started the Africa Travel and Tourism Conference and has since featured the largest gatherings of top aviation and tourism professionals and discussed key topics that stirred the industry and have generated some significant impact thereon. These topics included one year accident-free commercial aviation in 2017, why airlines fail, Women in Tourism Conference, African tour operators’ conference, Youth in Tourism Conference, and challenges and the future.
Since there has been no other comprehensive conference bringing leaders in tourism of the African Diaspora who have helped to make black cultural heritage tourism what it is today, the African Tourism Diaspora Conference is a worthwhile event that will be very significant to the culture, tourism industry and beyond. Akwaaba expects the attendance of dignitaries, government officials, professionals, corporate executives, organisation and association leaders and scholars, as well as cultural, heritage and travel enthusiasts in general.