Around the world, hospitality and touring activities have been the biggest victims of the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Nigeria has had its share of the blow, which has crippled the economy.
Therefore, to revitalize the market and breathe new life into the industry, Akwaaba organizers chose to recognize Nigeria’s major hotels to connect them with tour operators who would create the synergy needed to renew the leisure economy.
The event will feature and honor Nigeria’s top 100 hotels by room number. Scheduled to take place at the Eko Hotel & Suites Convention Center from November 29 to 30, 2021, Akwaaba 2021 is committed to reconnecting delegates with key industry players and joining forces to relaunch tourism.
The two-day event will attract experts from Africa and Nigeria to present and dissect relevant topics at the event. One of its organizers, Ikechi Uko, said: “Due to the effect of the pandemic, Akwaaba is dedicating this year’s event to the hotel and leisure economy as well as their ability to to cure. The event will serve as an opportunity to unveil Nigeria’s shortlist of Seven Natural Wonders.
Naija7Wonders’ presentation session would help delegates explore new destinations in Nigeria. The search for the Seven Wonders of Nigeria was launched last year to bring attention to Nigeria’s tourist attractions.
A150 top tourism practitioners in Nigeria, all of whom are members of the elite Tourism 100 Club group, were put together as a committee by the organizers of Naija7Wonders to manage the research. The committees have selected 35 destinations from which the public can choose and the winners will be announced in Akwaaba.
Delegates will meet new vendors and solutions that will help businesses emerge more efficiently and gain long-term competitive advantage. They will learn about market trends and new developments presented by industry experts with question-and-answer sessions through the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) training and the Tourism Specialist Certificate course.
There will be training on MICE and specialist certificate on tourism in Nigeria. There will be discussions and panels on hospitality and standardization in Nigeria. Delegates will meet a wide range of champions from Nigeria and beyond in person and in a safe environment. Delegates will also use the close ties and partnerships with industry representatives and organizations from across Nigeria to further expand their business network.
Akwaaba has become, over the years, the meeting place for travel and tourism professionals in Africa. It drew assistance from over 20 nations. Many VIPs have graced the event in the past including Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of The Gambia, The late Dawda Jawara, Former Vice President of Nigeria The late Alex Ekwueme, Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Sir Emeka Anyaoku, Former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke and Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State.
The incumbent tourism ministers of Ghana, Gambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Seychelles have all attended previous editions of Akwaaba. The current president of South African football, Dr Danny Jordaan had made a presentation in Akwaaba.
Major hotels, airlines and destinations including Dubai, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Egypt, Kenya, Gambia, Benin, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Libya, United States, Spain and the Tourism Organization of the Caribbean (UK) have all participated in the African travel market.
Akwaaba was so successful that he launched another event in Ghana, the Accra Weizo which was held in Accra for five consecutive years.