Otunba Runsewe, Catherin Afeku, Ikechi Uko...Honored at the 2018 African Travel Times Awards

GHANA, ACCRA – The capital of the Gold Coast hosted the 2018 African Travel Times Awards at the prestigious Accra City Hotel on Thursday 13, December 2018.

Initiated in 2014, the award event recognizes excellence in the tourism and travel industry in Nigeria, Ghana, and the West African sub-region and beyond.

Compered by Kirk Leigh, the awards was well-attended by cogent personages of repute in the travel and tourism sector and various industries namely hospitality, tourism educational institutions, Airlines, international and National/State tourism agencies, tourism ministers and many others.

The principal aim for this valid event is to identify excellence in the tourism and travel industry and have personalities, organizations, agencies, hospitality brands and many others who touch the realms of excellence with their efforts encouraged with an award for recognition.

The Awards, categorized into Individuals, Airlines, Hospitality, Government/Agencies and Ghana Category was also an awesome night of meet, eat, drink and network.

Otunba  Segun Runsewe, Director General, National Council For Arts and and Culture (NCAC) who was represented by Sam Abgi JP, Director, Performing Arts (NCAC) won the award for  Most Distinguished Tourism Personality Award (Nigeria).
Receiving the award, Mr Agbi who attended the event in company of some staff of the National Council for Arts and Culture said: “the Chief Host, Mr Lucky Onoriode George is an evident personality of excellence and it is on this evidence my Boss Otunba Runsewe who is not the kind that honors such event, sent me to be here in his stead”.

Another Nigerian personality who was honored is a factor that validates the credibility of this initiative –owing to the activations credited to his wealth of initiatives –namely Akwaaba African Travel Market, Accra Weizo, Abuja Bantaba and Port Harcourt Bantaba. The activeness of these activations and many others earned Ikechi Uko the award for Outstanding Tourism Personality of the Year (West Africa).

Without doubt the Gold Coast has upped their game under the administration of Hon. Catherine Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture that got US $50 million facility support from the World Bank in January 2018 for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture under the Ghana Tourism, Arts & Cultural Project, in strengthening its institutions and stakeholders, improving sector productivity for job creation , empowering women and youth across all sectors along the creative arts and culture value chain as well as enhancement of overall domestic/foreign tourist experience  –this facility marked the first of its kind in the history of Ghana, that the Tourism, Arts and Culture industry is supported by the World Bank through the Ministry. Seeing the activities the Ministry has executed projecting the creative arts and entertainment industry from August to November this year, the World Bank, again approved a facility of US$40 million to support the Government’s continuous effort to develop the Creative Art, Leisure and Tourism industry.  Several events like Chale Wote Arts Festival that got a support of GHC300 000 from the Tourism Ministry, the Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF), African Tourism Leadership Forum and the hosting of this year’s  African Music Awards (AFRIMA) which was organized by the Government  of Ghana in collaboration with the African Union and AFRIMA Secretariat and many others have taken place causing a valid activeness in the country that brought about the Minister who was the special guest of honour at the event to be honored as the “Most Active’ Tourism Minister Award (West Africa) and Akwasi Agyeman, Active Chief Executive Officer,Ghana Tourism Authority honored with Most Active Tourism Agency CEO in the Individual categories and Ghana Tourism Authority honored as Most Active Tourism Agency (West Africa) respectively.

Other Individual awardees include: Abiodun Odunsanya, National President, Institute for Tourism Professionals (ITP); Joseph Rennie,General Manager, Hotel Presidential Port Harcourt, Nigeria for his Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality Industry; and Herbert Acquaye, Erstwhile President, Ghana Hotels Associations for Special Hospitality Award (West Africa) and Danny Kioupourglou , General Manager, Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria also for Outstanding Contribution To Hospitality Industry.

Awardees in the Airline Category are namely: British Airways – Most Trusted Airline (International); Ethiopian Airlines – Most Reliable Airline (Africa); ASKY Airlines - Most Reliable Carrier (West Africa); Kenya Airways – Most Supportive National Carrier for effective promotion of the Kenyan Tourism Board and South African Airways got the honor for Most Supportive National Carrier for effective promotion of the South African Brand. Our very own Arik Airline was honored with the Most Recognizable Airline Brand (West Africa) and was received by Mr.Olabanji a representative of the brand; Air Peace – Most Formidable Airline (West Africa) and Air Namibia – Effective Promotion of Brand in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Eko Hotel and Suite and Transcorp Hilton Hotel won the first-rated Conference Venue and the Most Corporate Hotel (West Africa) and The Royal Senchi Hotel and Resort in Ghana was adjudged the first-rated resort (West Africa) in the Hospitality Category.

Honored with the Brand of the Year Award is Golden Tulip Accra; Movenpick Ambassador Hotel culled the Conference Hotel of the Year Award; Oak Plaza Hotel was declared as the Best Bed and Breakfast Hotel of the Year; and African Regent Hotel won the Airport Hotel of the Year Award.     

The Best Hotel Management of the Year went to the Tang Palace Hotel, – International category; and the Ghana Category saw La Villa Boutique Hotel, cull the Best Hotel Management of the Year. Additional recognition for Tang Palace Hotel is Best Dining Experience Hotel of the Year (West Africa). The Accra City Hotel, a business haven hospitality that fueled the event with the needed ambiance culled the  award for Most Innovative Brand.

In the Government/Agencies Category/Training Winners, Akwa Ibom State  - Top Sport Tourism Destination (West Africa); Rivers State – Most Supportive Government in Sustaining Tourism Facilities (Nigeria);Bayelsa State Government was honored for Establishing International Institute of Tourism & Hospitality (ITH) and this was received by Anne Solomon; Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) Most Active Tourism Agency (West Africa); Benin Republic & Togo – Joint Winners of Authentic African Traditional Culture & Voodoo Capitals (Worldwide) and South Africa Tourism – Most Effective National Marketing Tourism Agency (Africa).

Still in the Ghana Category winners, Bassem Toura, General Manager, Holiday Inn Accra Airport, was  honored with 3-Star Hotel General Manager of the Year; Roman Krabel, General Manager, Accra City Hotel, 4-Star Hotel General Manager & General Manager of the Year;  and Michael Rathgeb, General, Movenpick -Ambassador Hotel – 5-Star Hotel General Manager of the Year.

Wavecrest College of Hospitality (WCH) a premier Monotechnic in Nigeria offering education and training in the field of hospitality for women since 1972 was given a Recognition Award in Women Education/Training in Hospitality (West Africa).

Twins Tourism, great Agriculturist was given Special Recognition for Promoting Social Tourism and Big Samaritans, a group of devotees in Nigeria who are in the ministry of promoting beach tourism by having the beaches cleaned for tourists.