…Glimpse of Calabar Carnival
By Emeka Anokwuru
Tourism practitioners are warming up for the 13th edition of Akwaaba Travel Market, the biggest travel and tourism fair in West Africa which opens on Sunday. The 3-day event will be held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos from 10th to 12th September. And to spice this year’s event, there is going to be a Chef Challenge; a culinary contest to confirm the country in West Africa that cooks the best Jollof rice meal. The event will be declared open by Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council of Arts & Culture (NCAC). The jollof rice challenge has already created buzz and excitement amongst the competing countries. The chef challenge is organised with the sole aim of promoting culinary tourism in Africa. It will have chefs from Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal and Ghana competing for the best jollof rice while a group of Nigerian chefs will compete for the best prepared rice in varieties.
The 2nd Africa Travel and Tourism Conference will hold on the 2nd day of the Akwaaba. Speakers and panelists will address topics dealing with issues such as “One year of Accident free commercial aviation, what did Africa do right?” African Airlines & profitability, the real issues, Airport perspective, Regulations perspective, Airlines’ perspective. Mr. Gbenga Olowo, President /CEO, Sabre Network NMC, West Africa, who is the guest speaker will be speaking on the topic: “2016: Commercial Aviation Accident Free Year. What Did Africa Do Right”, a topic that is germane to the African aviation sector. Olowo is an Economist and Business Administrator with uninterrupted cognate experience in Aviation sector.
While the Women in Tourism conference 2017, will have Deputy Minister of Tourism Zimbabwe, Anastacia Ndlovu as guest speaker with the theme: Women in Tourism; Challenges and the Future. This session will allow leading women in tourism to discuss the various challenges facing women in tourism and proffer solutions towards these challenges now and in the future.
The third day will feature Youth in Tourism Conference 2017 with Sekimi Ifederu, CEO of Tambollo as guest speaker. This Conference seeks to address the challenges young people in travel business face in promoting domestic tourism in Nigeria and also bring the youth in tourism together, as it seeks to mainstream them into the organized travel and tourism business. Also the event will have a Wedding Destination session. The session will feature destination experts and moderated by seasoned destination wedding manager Mrs. Seyi Olusanya, CEO ‘Once Upon A Destination’, which will explore top targeted wedding destinations and honeymoon spots by new and old couples across Africa. As the demand for tourism increases for various reasons, weddings, honeymoon and family get-a-ways cannot be ignored as a pull factor for tourism.
Adding more glamour and razzmatazz to the event is Carnival Calabar which train will be on hand to thrill visitors. This year’s event is set to offer those who have only seen the Carnival Calabar on T.V the opportunity to have a firsthand glimpse of the biggest street party in Africa. The National Troupe of Ghana will also share the stage with Carnival Calabar with performances to keep visitors entertained. A vibrant must attend 3-day business to business event presenting a diverse range of destinations to Africa and international travel professionals, it is a unique opportunity for African travel trade market to meet, negotiate, network and conduct businesses with players from elsewhere.
Maison Fahrenheit Hotel, one of the uniquely designed hospitality facilities in Lagos in partnership with Akwaaba will be hosting a cocktail event at an after party for delegates. The hotel located on the Island has 26 fully decorated rooms and 4 suites with a varied mix of Svengali’s trademark, exquisite and sassy colour combinations. With an electric fusion of ultra-modern and vintage décor, the rooms are relatively spacious and airy with abundant natural light, ocean views mod cons and pristine designer bathrooms. Masion Fahrenheit hotel has a lot of the items in its rooms that specifically depicts an exotic lifestyle of guests at the hotel. The Rue 80 Bar & Lounge presents a breath-taking view of the Atlantic Ocean setting the backdrop for this avant-garde rooftop Lounge. The La Spiga restaurant has an inspired Afro-Continental culinary experience featuring a mix of well-styled local and international dishes, from the known to the unexpected, but all meeting various desired dining experiences. The hotel will join other hospitality providers in the sector to showcase special offerings of the brand during the traveltrade.