This Day (Lagos)

21 October 2012

West Africa: Gambia Celebrates, Hotels, Airlines Exhibit At Akwaaba

As part of the ongoing efforts to increase awareness within the sub regional market - especially Nigeria - as a strategy to ensure all year round tourism, The Gambia Tourism Board is again poised to participate in this year's AKWAABA Trade Fair in Nigeria, which is slated for October 22 to 24.

The AKWAABA Travel Market is West Africa's leading travel and tourism event and brings together notable personalities including tourism professionals, leading tour operators, hoteliers, airlines, travel agents, notable travel journalists and other key stakeholders across the broad spectrum of the travel industry at both the regional and international levels.

Given that AKWAABA is an opportunity to showcase the best of Gambia tourism and to project the "Smiling Coast" brand in Nigeria, which is increasingly becoming a leading source market, a high- powered delegation is expected to grace the event. The delegation will feature prominent personalities from both the public and private sectors.

In a bid to increase the impact, Gambia will also organize a "Gambian Day" on October 23. This day is yet another platform to showcase what Gambia has to offer including its wonderful cuisine and the flagship dish called "Benachin".

Meanwhile, some of the best hotels in Africa will be at AKWAABA to showcase their services. The Starwood group comprising Sheraton, Le Meridien and Four Points by Sheraton will be present as well as Swiss brand, Movenpick. South African brands like Protea, Sun International, Legacy Group , Lonrho, Tsogo Sun as well as notable Ghanaian and Zimbabwean hotels would exhibit.

A few airlines will also be offering special fares and loyalty programs to travelers and travel agents. Delta, Air Namibia and Rwandair are newcomers to AKWAABA while returnees Qatar, Egyptair, BA, South African Airlines, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines will be joined by new Gambian airline, The Gambian Bird.

NTDC Showcases Nigeria to West Africa

The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation has expanded the frontiers of tourism promotion by showcasing Nigerian cultural content to the 16 nations that make up West Africa.

Using the auspices of a meeting with the West African Journalists Association(WAJA) led by its president, Mallam Muhammed Garba who also doubles as the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Director-General of NTDC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, presented the now famous book, "NIGERIA", a pictorial compendium on Nigeria to representatives from each of the West African states.

Making the presentation at the tourism village in Abuja, Runsewe also seized the moment to present a gold-plated plaque, a bronze cast representing FESTAC '77 and other NTDC-branded souvenirs to the delegates drawn from West African countries such as the Gambia, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal among others.

Rotary Club To Give Gberefu Village Facelift

The Rotary club of Ajara, Badagry will adopt Gberefu, the historic slave route village, also known as point of no return, as the site for the club's implementation of community service projects (2012-2015),a three-year strategic plan that will see Rotary club Ajara executing community development projects within the purview of Rotary International's six core areas of service.

In the dark era of slave trade some two centuries ago, Gberefu Village is the point of hand over of human cargo to slave traders for onward shipment to faraway lands in the Americas. The village is today inhabited by the Eguns, Aworis, Yorubas and native Agonyins of Beninoise and Togolese descents numbering about two thousand.

A press statement issued by the Public Relations Chair of the club, Rotarian Yomi Olomofe, itemized provision of water and sanitation, upgrading and rehabilitation of the only primary school in Gberefu, provision of basic maternal and child support assistance and provision of treated mosquito nets as part of the exercise to give the village a facelift. The exercise will commence this week.

UNWTO Opens Sustainable Tourism Observatories in China

The Kanas Lake Nature Reserve in the extreme North-west of China and the city of Chengdu, one of China's most populous cities, are the locations of two new UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories designed to monitor the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism.

The Chengdu and Kanas Observatories join UNWTO's network of tourism observatories which gather and report data based on UNWTO's sustainable tourism indicators and assist policy makers to ensure more sustainable tourism growth.

According to UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, "The establishment of the Chengdu and Kanas Observatories will allow these destinations to better understand the impact of their many visitors, evaluate the impacts of existing sustainable tourism initiatives and ensure tourism benefits both the people and environment of the surrounding areas for years to come."

The city of Chengdu receives tens of millions of domestic tourists each year and an increasing share of international tourists. These tourists generate over 8% of the city's GNP and an estimated 600,000 direct jobs. The Kanas Lake Nature Reserve receives close to one million domestic tourists, supporting jobs and income among the local population.

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