Akwaaba African Travel Market
Where Africa meets the world
GenreExhibitions, conference, workshops and awards.
Location(s)Lagos, Nigeria
Years active2005- present
ParticipantsAfrican countries, airlines, hotels, resorts, tourism boards, national parks, transport companies, destination marketers, travel and tour operators
Organized byAkwaaba Travel Market Limited

Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) is an international travel, tourism and hospitality event organized annually in Lagos, Nigeria[1] aimed at businesses, investors, governments decision - makers and buyers in the industry, providing business opportunities, industry news and showcasing products in Africa and around the world.[2] It serves as a platform to trade and network. Akwaaba African Travel Market is the first travel market in West Africa.[3][4]

The first Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) was held in Lagos in 2005.[5]

In 2005, from the participation of two countries, Ghana and Sao Tome, coming to Nigeria for the event in the debut year in 2005,[6] the event has grown over the years with increasing number of active exhibitors within and outside Africa, with over 20 participating countries, about 10,000[7] attendance and having partnerships with Africa countries tourism boards,[8] World Tourism Organization UNWTO, Africa Travel Association (ATA), Kwanza Trade Marketing of Dubai, African Business Travel Association (ABTA), International Tourism Trade Fair Association (ITTFA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA). [9][10]

As quoted by Akwaaba African Travel Market organizer, Ikechi Uko: "The fair has opened the door to Nigeria and Africa tourism markets and served as a platform for exchange of cultural and tourism potentials among participating countries".[11][12]


South Africa used Akwaaba African Travel market as a reaching platform to bridge her gap with Nigeria. According to the South African Tourism (SAT) "During Akwaaba, we officially announced our partnership with the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), who will help boost tourist arrivals growth from Nigeria to South Africa by developing a range of packages to suit the Nigerian travelers".[13]

Lagos state, Nigeria endorsed Akwaaba African Travel market as the official designated travel event in Lagos state. According to the Lagos State Ministry for Tourism, Arts and Culture, "This is in fulfillment of the state government promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, visiting tourists and visitor's decisions".[14][15][16][17]

In line with IATA's objective, to foster connectivity in Africa in the industry, Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) partnered with International Air Transport Association (IATA) to organize an Edition of Aviation Day at Akwaaba.[18]

Akwaaba contributes in using Jollof rice to brand West Africa as a unified tourist attraction of the West Africa Region. As quoted by Ikechi Uko, "Sometime in 2016, I called a Strategy meeting at Akwaaba and told the team that we will start a Jollof Rice war between Nigeria and other West African countries at Akwaaba. We will scrap a sponsored event we hold and replace it with the contest. Why do we have to give up a paid project for a cost centre? I told them that West Africa has no Common Tourism Product unlike East Africa with its rich Wildlife and we needed to create one."[19] Thirty chefs from Nigeria and Ghana took part in the first edition in 2017. With judges from East Africa and Southern Africa, the project, Jollof rice war, of using Jollof rice to brand West Africa was launched.[20] The success of the jollof rice war by Akwaaba has made the West African Jollof rice a world culinary tourism attraction, with tourists and visitors coming to the region to have a taste of the food. American rapper Cardi B, during her visit to Nigeria, told her host she desired to have a taste of Nigerian jollof rice.[21]


  1. ^ Mabel Benson "13th Akwaaba African Travel Market opens on September 10" This Day, 8 September 2017. Retrieved on 27 May 2019.
  2. ^ Kelvin Osa Okunbor "Tourism: 15 Travel Companies to showcase at Akwaaba African Travel Market" The Nation (Nigeria), 21 August 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2019
  3. ^ "Akwaaba travel fair brings the world to Nigeria", Vanguard (Nigeria), 22 October 2009 . Retrieved on 6 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Akwaaba African Travel Market Becoming Continent's Most Influential Show". Thisday live. 5 November 2016.
  5. ^ Yunus S. Saliu "The Fourth Edition of Akwaaba Travel Market Lagos" The Daily Observer Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, 11 July 2008. Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  6. ^ "PHOTOS: Food, culture, tourism at 14th Akwaaba African Travel Market", 11 September 2018. Retrieved on 27 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Aviation Women To Honour Koki At Akwaaba", 15 August 2014. Retrieved on 27 May 2019
  8. ^ "Akwaaba Travel Market, ADWT Partner On Africa Diaspora Tourism", The Daily Independent (Lagos newspaper), 18 October 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  9. ^ Emeka Umejei "Akwaaba’13: Sustaining the tempo of west Africa market" Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine,Daily Independent, 11 October 2013. Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Akwaaba African Travel Market" Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Osun Defender, 23 October 2012. Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Travelstart Nigeria To Attend AKWAABA 2015", 2 September 2015. Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Minister Declares Akwaaba 2014 Open" Archived 2015-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, Leadership (newspaper), 27 October 2014. Retrieved on 21 November 2015
  13. ^ "SA Tourism cements trade partnership on the Africa continent"
  14. ^ Olusegun Koiki "Lagos State Govt. partners 14th Akwaaba African Travel Market", The Daily Independent (Lagos), 4 September 2018. Retrieved on 6 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Lagos state adopts Akwaaba African Travel Market as official event", New Telegraph, 6 March 2018. Retrieved on 6 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Lagos plans big for ‘Akwaaba’", This Day, 5 September 2018. Retrieved on 6 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Akwaaba African Travel Market 2015", Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Dubai, IATA Partner Akwaaba 2015" The Nation (Nigeria), 3 October 2015. Retrieved on 27 May 2019.
  19. ^ "How Akwaaba African Travel Market Helped Make Jollof Rice a Tourism Product". Retrieved on 11 December 2019.
  20. ^ "13th Akwaaba African Travel Market to Settle Jollof Rice War". Retrieved on 11 December 2019.
  21. ^ "American Rapper Cardi B Longs For Nigeria Jollof Rice", 6 December 2019. Retrieved on 11 December 2019.