By Akinyosoye Busola
The ceremonial cutting of the taped ribbon to declare Akwaaba the African Travel Market open at the prestigious Eko Hotel was done yesterday by the duo of the Executive Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency Governor Bassey Otu and Senator Florence Ita Giwa.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by Hajia Abba Folawiyo, a cross section of members of the diplomac corps, other dignitaries and organisations top management staff, and various vendors positioned for the three days travel fair fiesta.
Some of them are: WOWbooth, Royal Air Maroc, Wakanow group, Ghana Tourism Authority, Ethiopian Airlines, NIHOTOUR, Lagos Tourism, Cinderella travel and tours, ValuJet Airline, 21st century evolution system, Rwanda Air, Furalle limited, Top travel trips, Ikogosi spring resort, Travel wings, Turquaz health, Gino, Ibom Air, Silk road hospitality and host of others.
Diifferent dance troupes added colour to the event.
Senator Florence Ita Giwa who made a speech at the event, described Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State as the man of the people. She highlighted the role and inclusivity of medical tourism. She further stated that Carnival Calabar is not about dancing but to tell a story through dancing and costume.
“When the issue of climate change, deforestation arose, we used images to tell the story. The joy is that we have a man that comes from Cross River and I am happy we have a governor that upholds us as a people.”
Senator Florence Ita Giwa used the opportunity to invite everyone to Calabar in December.
“Come and have fun in Calabar in December,” she said.
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Governor Bassey Otu on his part, unveiled the theme for this year’s Calabar carnival.
The theme tagged: The season of sweetness. He said further that people should invest in tourism, watch and see the return of their investment.
Afterwards, Governor Bassey Otu, Convener Ikechi Uko and the Ambassador from Namibia, presented awards.
Awards were presented to Wakanow, Travel Personality Of The Year CEO Flyzone Mr Ayo. Award to domestic tourism: Naija explorers, Butterfly tourism, P&G travels, Quotaways; Hospitality management awards was given to Mr Carl Harla.
The Convener of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Mr Ikechi Uko, welcomed the dignitaries and all participants at the event and wished them all, a memorable event, as activities kicked-off immediately after the opening ceremony.