AKWAABA African Travel Market is an annual international travel event hosted every year in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the only international travel fair in West Africa and is usually referred to as “Where Africa meets the world” 🌍
The 13th edition of AKWAABA held from 10th – 12th September, 2017 at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. I attended two of their scheduled events on the 2nd and 3rd day.
DAY 2 – WOMEN IN TOURISM: CHALLENGES & THE FUTURE
This discussion allowed women discuss the various challenges facing women in tourism and moves towards curbing these challenges for now and the future. There have been a rising number of young female tour operators in the tourism environment across the world; this session served as mentorship and empowerment for these young women in tourism to learn skills and ways to thrive in this very challenging but lucrative business of tourism. With the rising population of women over the male population in Africa, a lot can be achieved when they come together. This session aimed to deliver mentorship, empowerment, networking and partnership within the tourism business environment. (Culled from AKWAABA Program)
I was privileged to attend the TOP 100 AFRICAN WOMEN IN TOURISM Award. And I must admit that I was really impressed with the diversity of African Women who are doing exploits in the Tourism Industry. The award celebrated best female promoters of travel and tourism in Africa, the pioneers, the leaders and the stars.
According to UNCTAD reports, “an interesting fact revealed in the report, is that more than 30% of businesses in Africa are run by women, and 36% of the continent’s tourism ministers are women, the highest number in the world” globally, the proportion of women participating in tourism at decision making level is low, especially considering the high number of women working in the lower and entry levels. (Culled from African Travel Markets).
With what I witnessed at the AKWABAA award, I am confident that there would be more African women participating in the helm of affairs for the tourism industry.
DAY 3: YOUTH IN TOURISM: DOMESTIC TOURISM PROMOTION AND CHALLENGES FACING THE YOUTH
This conference addressed the challenges young people in travel business face in promoting Domestic Tourism in Nigeria and also brought the youth in tourism together as it sought to mainstream them into the organized travel and tourism business. The Youth in Tourism Conference with the topic, “Promoting Domestic Tourism in Nigeria, the challenges” brought youths across the country together for a panel discussion where challenges of Promoting Domestic tourism was discussed with speakers and discussants from the Federal Tourism agencies and Ministries. (Culled from AKWAABA Program)
I particularly enjoyed this session. The panel pointed out challenges they are facing to promote Domestic Tourism in Nigeria and offered solutions. The challenges were many but I would highlight a few:
- Poor Social Infrastructures – Bad roads. No electricity. Traffic issues. Security problem. Government needs to ensure proper and necessary infrastructures and services are provided to build the Nigerian economy through the tourism industry. The tourism industry is a mutli-billion dollar industry that Nigeria should harness.
- Poor Customer Service at tourist destinations – Some of these tourist sites’ managers are rude, non-chalant and disorganized. They need to be trained on quality Customer Service and about how lucrative their businesses would boost the community and the Nigeria economy.
- Media Challenges – Some media platforms sell mostly bad news about Nigeria to the world. They need to be selling more captivating stories about the beauty of Nigeria.
- Bureaucracy – Too many bottle necks to get approval and payment for Tourism services rendered especially in the government. The process should be reduced and government should learn to stop owning contractors.
- Digital Backwardness – Both the government and private sectors need to harness the benefits of technology to boost the image of the tourism industry in Nigeria.
After the discussion, two female youths from two different countries shared their experiences in the tourism industry. Rwanda’s First female drive tour guide, Annie Uwase, who is just 23 years old shared the challenges she faced and is still facing in her country. Then we had South African Travel Blogger, Katchie Nzama aka The Solo Wandera who is on a mission to travel solo across 24 West African countries in 6 months titled #BreakingBorders 👣 She was in Nigeria and was also honored with the Top 100 African Women Award. She told us about the experiences she faced at each African border and how they affected her trips.
These events were worth attending. I enjoyed networking with Tourism and Travel Enthusiasts. I am sure looking forward to next year’s, the 14th Edition of AKWABAA.