Encouraged by encouraging news from the United Nations World Tourism Barometer, whose latest World Tourism Performance Report for the first quarter of this year shows African destinations attracting a 51% increase in international tourist arrivals, Travel Essentials Limited , one of Nigeria’s leading destination marketing companies, is capitalizing on this development to open Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau’s gateway to the Nigerian market. In actualizing this, he created a platform, with the theme; Connecting Africa Businesses 2022. The platform, among others, designed a business and familiarization trip for Nigerian tourists and businesses to explore the two destinations. It should be held from August 14 to 20. According to the management of Travel Essentials, ”the project aims to stimulate private sector participation and energize the Nigerian brand”.
To this end, it organized during the week a pre-tour sensitization session for tourists and small and medium-sized businesses at the Bi-Courtney Training Academy (Hall 2) at Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2 Ikeja, Lagos. Dr Rotimi Oladele, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lagos State University, got the ball rolling when in his introductory remark he highlighted the importance of the project, saying that tourism and commerce are like Siamese twins that cannot be separated. Therefore, the project aims to open up the African continent, with particular reference to the West Coast, to explore the commercial opportunities available through tourism and trade.
Addressing the session, Anichebe Chuma Chris from the Nigeria-Guinea-Bissau Chamber of Commerce, which is attached to the Embassy of Guinea-Bissau in Nigeria, also underscored this notion when he talked about business opportunities and tourism for investors and tourists in the country, noting the various areas that should be of interest to tourists, investors and businesses.
For Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Travel Essentials Limited, Hilary Edet, Connecting Africa Businesses dream project began in 2017 when he consulted with the Cross River State Government on the Tinapa Business Resort project, saying that “Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau have been on our radar for a long time.” It was then that he discovered that Cape Verde was importing table water from Spain and that led him to wonder why not Nigeria which is an economic power in Africa?
“That’s what led us to this project, exploring West Africa to see what they have,” he recalls. Further specifying that: ”We then set up this platform to connect buyers and sellers. There is a lot to do between Nigeria, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau.”
Coming then to today’s rally, he said: ”This meeting is a pre-event for the business and familiarization tour in August. ”It’s to educate us to see if you’re interested and what role you want to play. The question is: do we have what it takes to play in this market? Indeed, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau will be a big step forward in exploring business opportunities in Africa, as these countries see Nigeria as a big brother. exploring, he said, is now Travel Essentials has created the platform to explore Africa starting with the two countries. He concluded by saying that:
“It’s a win-win situation and I want to see how many Nigerian companies are ready to join us because these two countries are waiting for us.” format, spoke after Edet on different aspects of investment and export business in terms of some of the things that required it. One of these speakers was Ms. Janet Omisore from Targets Integrated Limited. In his article, titled; Networking and the export market, she drew attention to the fact that this is an opportunity to share market knowledge, further stating that: ”The journey is to create an opportunity for us to solve the problems, therefore, we have to start doing our market research to find out what things are available and how to grab them.”
She also highlighted the need for investors to be aware of the country’s trade policies, legal requirements and international standards for the export of goods and services, among others. Since both countries are member states of ECOWAS and are guided by free trade and movement of goods and people on the west coast, she assured that there would be nothing to worry about taking advantage of the opportunities that the platform offers, as she warned that, “We should be ready to really explore the markets.” While Oladele in her article, Exploring Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau for mutually benefit exchanges with Nigeria , dissected in detail the profiles of the three countries, i.e. Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria, while he highlighted some of the physical, human, economic and environmental indexes of the countries and why investors should invest in it.
In the area of financing, three banks were present, these are Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Providus Bank, their representatives speaking on the different financing options and policies that investors can take advantage of in the financial services sector. for the purpose of the project. Zenith Bank’s Iniobong Etuk in his article, Overview of What the Banking Sector Offers for Export, spoke at length about these areas. Aviation as a critical aspect of the project, especially with connectivity difficulties in Africa and bearing in mind that there are currently no direct flights between Nigeria and either of both countries, was part of the forum, with a team from Ibom Air led by Udeme Uboh, weighing in. With the airline, which this year celebrated its third year in the business circle, and known for its instant success when it debuted in 2019.
Uboh revealed that the airline’s vision is to play in the African continent, especially in the Western region. The two countries involved in the project, particularly Cape Verde, he said, are on the airline’s radar as it seeks to establish a direct link between Cape Verde and Nigeria. According to him; ”We came with a vision to change the narrative of aviation, especially for travelers.
So far it has been a wonderful adventure. We don’t intend to get out of Africa, it’s because we want to connect Africa and cut off Europe. “Point-to-point operation in Africa, we will close that gap and interestingly Cape Verde is on the radar for us. By the grace of God, we will be operating in Cape Verde by next year and this will save exporters, businesses and travelers the headache of trying to move people and goods. ” He therefore assured that the airline was ready to partner with the organizers to make the project a success, saying that: ”Our doors are open and we hope that we are a growing business connecting our neighbours, especially West Africa, because that is our focus.”
Online presentations were also made and one was made by Executive Director, Europe, Travel Essentials, Mark, who looked at the numbers in terms of data as they affect both countries while stressing the need for Nigerians to relocate to the two countries to explore the various opportunities available, saying that: ”There is an increase in intra-African travel so now is a good time to invest. ”With the exploratory discussions and the enthusiasm displayed as well as the promises and assurances given by the various forum participants, including envoys from both countries, it is safe to say that a new beginning is on the horizon. for Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau and that this project is certainly set to change the narrative if it finally takes off as planned.