AfTM 2022 to focus on medical tourism, leisure, African women travel award

The organisers of the biggest travel and tourism expo in West Africa, AKWAABA African Travel Market (AfTM), in their unusual innovative surprises, have tilted a step further to not only tap into a niche market but also to open new vista of opportunities for industry stakeholders as its 18th edition focuses on medical tourism, leisure among other areas of interest.

The convener of the event, Mr Ikechi Uko, who also hosted other MICE shows in Nigeria and West Africa made this known while announcing the date for the 2022 edition of the annual event. The event is billed to hold at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria from October 31 to November 1.

The African Travel Market has grown over the years to become the most important platform for marketing travel and tourism in West Africa and is among the Top 5 Tourism Events in Africa, drawing attendance of over 20 countries within and outside Africa.

Uko explained that AfTM has decided to give a lot of attention to medical tourism and health insurance at the 2022 edition of the event because of the increasing importance of medical tourism in Africa.

“The World is thinking about wellness and Health as an integral part of tourism. Recently United Nations World Tourism Organisation UNWTO had a Joint Programme with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to streamline their strategies.

Making reference to statement by the UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, “COVID-19 showed that any crisis that threatens the health, safety and security of people, communities and the environment is also a risk to tourism itself. I am confident that strong cooperation at all levels will place health high on the tourism agenda. It will make for healthy tourists, healthy communities, a healthy environment, and healthy economies for current and future generations.

The “Montenegro Statement” recognises that health and tourism are deeply interconnected in the globalised world.

According to the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who supervises Tourism, Nigerians spent over $1billion on medical tourism in 2021.

“This underscores the importance of this type of tourism and the need to examine the role of health travels in the growth of tourism and travel.

Hospitals and Medical Tourism Organisations from different countries will be invited to this Year’s Akwaaba African Travel Market.

This 18th Akwaaba will host the fifth edition of the African Travel and Tourism Conference and the second Edition of Africa Travel 100 Women Awards.

In 2017 AKWAABA African Travel Market hosted the Top 100 Travel and Tourism Women in Africa and this brought together for the first-time Women Travel Professionals from all over Africa with over 250 people in attendance. In 2018 it hosted the Top 100 Tour Operators in Africa and hosted the African Diaspora Global Awards in 2019.

The 2022 Edition will bring back the Top 100 of the leading Female Airline Pilots, the Ministers, the Hotel Managers and Leading Operators in Africa.

According to Uko “Leisure and corporate travel had been the leading source of travel business out of and into Nigeria and West Africa. The growth of medical tourism in the last few years demanded more focus on that sector of tourism.

“There will be a B2B session on medical tourism and health insurance on November 1, as well as a panel discussion with experts from both receiving countries and departing destinations.

He also explained that the Africa Travel 100 Awards now in her 18th year has recognised over the years industry practitioners, leaders, and governments who have promoted tourism and demystified travel using unique platforms and new information. Some of our past projects include Africa Travel 100 – Top 100 Travel Companies in West Africa- 2016, Africa Travel 100 – Top 100 Women in Travel and Tourism -2017, Africa Travel 100 – Top 100 Tour Operators in Africa -2018 and Africa Travel 100- Top Global Personalities -2019

Also its flagship cuisine competition; ‘Jollof Rice War’ is now in its 5th year and it is an event that draws attention to the rich culinary resources of West Africa.

Akwaaba Delegates have access and face to face discussions with Many Destinations and Suppliers which includes over 300 Travel Professionals from Nigeria, West Africa and around Africa.

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