The Executive Governor of Cross River State in Nigeria has won the Tourism Man of the Year Award for Nigeria and West Africa. It was a 4 man race between Him, the Minister of Tourism for Ghana, The Minister of Tourism for the Gambia and Obinna Ekezie the MD of Wakanow. This was based on the results released on Tuesday by the Award committee
The Balafon Award committee made up of Travel Professionals and Journalists from Nigeria and Ghana approved the results for the best performers in Travel and Tourism West Africa.
The committee had earlier met and shortlisted Nominees for the Different award categories. The shortlisted Nominees were then exposed to public votes on Atqnews website and Facebook page. The online voting was done using Survey monkey software. Atqnews Facebook page has 23000 followers and the newsletter has a Weekly global audience of over a hundred thousand people. After a robust Debate while analysing the results the Award committee approved the results. Winners will be presented with Award Certificates at Accra Weizo event in Ghana on the 15th of July. From the analysis it is obvious that most of the voters were from Nigeria and Ghana with few other voters from other parts of Africa.
The Governor in his first year in Office not only sustained the Tradition of Carnival Calabar but raised the bar for the event. His Tourism Achievements in 12 months in Office include the opening of the First monorail in sub Sahara Africa, Hosting the
Biggest ever street carnival in Africa last year ,Setting up Callywood the New movie genre that is rated to be Bigger and better than Nollywood. He is also Creating new cities in the state. Cross River State prides itself as having created the first Authentic international carnival in africa withParticipation from Africa and other parts of the World. He introduced the First bikers parade, the First green carnival and delivered the Largest crowd ever seen since carnival began in 2014. These achievements helped Prof. Ben Ayade clinch the double Award in his first Year.
The Balafon Award WINNERs by Ranking of the results approved by the committee .
1. BEST AIRLINES IN WEST AFRICA.. Arik. Asky ,Air Peace
2. TOP 10 HOTELS IN WEST AFRICA
Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos ,Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, Intercontinental Hotel Lagos, Labadi Beach Hotel Accra, La Palm royal Beach Hotel Accra,Kairaba Hotel Gambia, Radisson Blu,Hotel Lome, Wheatbakers Lagos, Lou Moon Ghana ,MovenPick Ambassador Hotel Accra.
3. TOP 10 HOTELS IN GHANA
Labadi Hotel,LaPalm Royal Beach Hotel,Movenpick Ambassador Hotel,Golden Tulip Hotel Accra,Holiday Inn ,African Regent, Kempinski Gold City, Tang Palace, Royal Senchi Resort Akosombo, Lou Moon.
4. TOP 5 HOTELS IN NIGERIA Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos,Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja,
Sheraton Lagos Hotel,Oriental Hotel and Intercontinental Hotel Lagos
5. TOP INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES in Ghana
Emirates , Ethiopian , Arik . 6. TOURISM MAN OF THE YEAR in Ghana Hon.Elizabeth Ofosu- Adjare, The honourable Minister of Tourism ,Kwame Ofosu Bamfo of Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel Accra and Tourism Ambassador Abeku Santana
7. TOURISM MAN OF THE YEAR – West Africa
HE Prof.Ben Ayade Executive Governor of CRS, Obinna Ekezie CEO of Wakanow
Elizabeth Ofosu- Adjare Minister of Tourism Ghana
8. AVIATION MAN OF THE YEAR in Ghana
Charles Asare CEO of Ghana Airport Company Limited ,Gloria Yirenkyi of South Africa Airways Accra and Eric Antwi of Starbow Airlines.
9. AVIATION PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR,West Africa
Henok Tefferra ,and Allen Onyema ,
10. TOP INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES INTO
NIGERIA is Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates and BA
11. AVIATION PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR,Nigeria is Muneer Alade Bankole MD of Medview Airlines and Allen Onyema MD Air Peace
12. TOURISM MAN OF THE YEAR , Nigeria HE Prof.
Ben Ayade Governor of Cross River State, Obinna Ekezie MD Wakanow, Nkereuwem Onung Natop President
Balafon is the West African Travel Awards instituted many years ago by the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market. It was set up to recognize individuals who have excelled in Tourism and Travel and who also have contributed yo the growth of Tourism and Travels in the region. But from this year 2016 Balafon Awards will become part of Accra Weizo event. The West Africa Award (Balafon) will hold at5pm
To ensure credibility and Transparency in the award selection a multinational committee was set up to shortlist nominees.
Recently An informal committee meeting with the Ghana members of the Balafon West Africa Travel Awards was held in Ghana to discuss modalities for the Awards coming up at Weizo 2016. Present at the meeting held at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel Accra were Collins Udolu, Ikechi Uko, Jeanne Donkoh former Hotel GM, Cephas Larbi of Daily Guide, Glory Brisbane of Stellar Travels and Abdallah Mohammed of MetroTV.
The committee includes from Ghana, Nancy Sam President of Tour operators union of Ghana, Ahmed Naaman, VP GHATOF, Abeku Santana super Blogger and Ghana Tourism Ambassador, Dominic Andoh of BF&T, Kojo Bentu Williams Tourism PR wiz kid , Bridget Markwe leading Tour Operator and Andrew Boafo Ghana’s most experienced Hotel marketer. Other members from Nigeria include Nkereuwem Onung President of NATOP, Ime Udo, Obinna Emelike, Franklin Ihejirika, Demola Ojo, Okorie Uguru, Omololu Olumuyiwa and Wale Olapade.
Accra Weizo is an event put together by the organizers of Akwaaba African Travel Market with the support of Ghana Ministry of Tourism Culture and Creative Arts. It debuted last year.
The 2016 edition themed: “Seamless Travels in West Africa” will host a discussion session on West Africa as a Single Destination.
With the Launching of Visa on Arrival programme for all Africans by Ghana on Friday July 1 you will still be needing 14 Visa stickers on your passport to Visit West Africa. No wonder West Africa received the lowest Number of Tourists in Africa despite its long Beaches and great Culture.
To address this issue will be Leaders of Tourism ans Travel Private sector in West Africa at the 2nd Accra Weizo.
Carmen Nigibira the Coordinator of the East Africa Tourism Platform the tourism vehicle driving the succesful regional tourism marketing effort of the EAC will be sharing the experience of the East Africans.
East Africa had launched an ambitious project of Schengen style joint single visa to Kenya,Uganda and Rwanda to integrate the tourism offerings in the region. They have gone further to integrate joint marketing at trade shows and events.
West Africa needs to learn from these experiments at Joint marketing and regional branding.
Accra Weizo is hosted by La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, supported by Ethiopian Airlines, Accra city hotel and Kempinski Gold city Hotel Accra.
It will be an in-depth look at ways to improve Travel and Tourism growth in West Africa through easy access to towns and cities in West Africa. Improving and simplifying Airport and Border processes; Standardizing Hotel and facilities for tourism through shared vision.
The Tourism session will be on “The Prospect of West Africa as a Single Tourism Destination”. There will be a case study “SAT Experience in West Africa” by Hloni Pitso, the Regional Manager of South Africa Tourism in West Africa.
The session will have as discussants the President of Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP),Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), and heads of the Tourism Associations from Benin and Togo. It will be moderated by a leading Ghanaian Journalist Abeku Santana
Mr. Ikechi Uko, the Organizer, said Accra Weizo is a one-day Travel Seminar, Awards, Exhibition and the objective is to improve Travel and Tourism growth in West Africa through easy access to towns and cities in West Africa.
Over 150 Travel Professionals are expected from all over West-Africa.
The Chief Executive Officers of the three leading Airlines in West Africa ASKY ,ARIK and AERO have confirmed participation at the event scheduled for the 15th of July in Accra Ghana. They will be discussing the increasing challenges faced by Airlines in West Africa.
West Africa has a population of over 300 Million from 15 Countries and over 40 Airports. Despite having the largest Economy in Africa West Africa is very poor in Aviation matters compared to East ,South and North Africa. It can not boast of a major Aviation hub not to talk of a super Airline. Every Airline comes to West Africa to fill up their balance sheet yet the Airlines in West Africa struggle to maintain profitability. Taxes and policy hurdles cripple profitable operations in West Africa.
These issues will be thrashed out at the Aviation session of the event expected to be Chaired by the DG NCAA supported by his Ghanaian compatriot GCAA,who have all been invited to the event.
The Guest Speaker in the Aviation session is Mr. Henock Teferra, the Managing Director of ASKY Airlines, ASKY Airlines is a pan Africa airline, based in Lome, Togo. He will be speaking on the topic “The Challenges of Running a Successful Regional Airline in West Africa, at the Event.
Other speakers at this year’s event are the Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors Limited, Captain Fola Akinkuotu and the Vice Chairman of SAHCOL Mr. Chike Ogeah.
The maiden edition of Accra Weizo in 2015, attracted some global rated expert like Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional-Head, IATA for Africa and the Middle East. She spoke on Intra Africa Air Connectivity, the facts, Challenges and Benefits. Mr. Frank Nneji, Managing Director, ABC Transport Limited, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, Founder Kasapreko Company Limited, Femi Adefope- Head HRG & GSA Delta Airlines in Nigeria were all Speakers at Accra Weizo 2015.