The 12th edition of Akwaaba African Market opened on Sunday October 30, 2016, the event was declared open by the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Zimbabwe, Annastacia Ndlouv.
Anastancia Ndhlovu commended the organisers for bringing African travel marketers and tour operators together under one unique platform. She expressed delight at the large turnout of both local and foreign participants.
The annual international travel and tourism expo opening witnessed a large turn out of exhibitors, tour operators, travel experts, hoteliers and visitors.
Dubai Tourism was the cynosure of all eyes with their imposing stand and unrivalled reception to visitors that visit their stand. Faisal Derar, Company Consultant for Arabian Falcon Holidays based in Dubai enthused, “Akwaaba keep growing stronger and stronger. It is not my first time of coming but the third time. I am excited at the rate of visitors to my stand in few hours. I look forward to more exciting days ahead.
Henry Etok of Lagos Business School who is a first time visitor said, “I am surprised at the turn out at this event. I was invited by a friend and only came out of courtesy. I’m taken aback by the organization, numbers of exhibitors and visitors which I can only liken to the WTM I attended in London. Indeed, this is great! I was surprised to learn that Akwaaba was not funded nor supported by the government or the relevant government agency. Again, I learnt that this is the 12th edition, can you imagine that! I thought I will find NTDC stand but sadly, they were not there and so funny, it didn’t even show . Could it have been better than this if government is involved, i strongly doubt it. I feel that the government needs to learn from the organisers some useful lesson on how they have been able to manage this event and achieve this great success. Honestly, I am impressed.”
An exhibitor, Ms Lydia Nambi, Executive Director of Aba Global Tours and Travel, Uganda lamented the treatment meted out to them at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. She said, “It is sad that we are treated badly when we arrived yesterday at your airport. The officials are very rude and mean to us. We received shabby treatment and for us coming for exhibition for the first time in Nigeria, that was an experience we can’t forget in a hurry. There is a need for the authority to train their officials at the airport on human relations, for they are the first contact when you get to the country.
The day event was rounded up with dinner and performance by the Carnival Calabar troupe that entertained the guests.