David Diai


All is now set for the 4th edition of International Hospitality, Tourism and Eco-Sustainability Forum (IHTEF), which will hold at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in Abuja from April 16 to 17, 2019.

An excited and upbeat Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Eco6tem and Executive Director of IHTEF, Engr. Chibuikem Diala confirmed that arrangements and logistics for all the main activities and attendance of the major participants and resource persons, including the keynote speaker and other prominent Chief Executives and managers of globally listed Tourism, Hospitality and auxiliary establishments from Nigeria and abroad, have been secured for this bumper Tourism, Hospitality and Eco-Sustainability commune.

This 4TH Edition of the IHTEF conclave promises to be even bigger and more robust than the first three editions, with special emphasis on Africa and how the growth, role, impact and expectations of Tourism and hospitality sector, will shape continental eco-sustainability initiatives, while upgrading standards and operations in the sector to match global best practices.

According to Engr. Diala, who is also the CEO/Content Theorist at Sustainable Eco6tems Limited, “IHTEF is now in its 4th Edition and we hope to impact our world with this humble and honest hospitality vision. Through the IHTEF platform we hope to build a new set of hospitality promoters in Nigeria and Africa.”

Speaking further, Diala noted that, “There is no doubt IHTEF is set to become the emerging hospitality knowledge event of the decade with the new trend of things and the load of offer we are coming out with for attendees.”


Headlining the A-list of distinguished invitees and Speakers already primed to attend the event is the Keynote Speaker, Trevor J. Ward, who will be speaking on: “The Nigerian Hotel Industry – Growth, Innovation and People Power,” which will, amongst other things, present data on the historic and planned future growth of the industry, the innovations that have taken place, and the challenges of human resources, which will definitely lay the foundation for the different panels that will take place over the next two days of the IHTEF 2019 confab

Trevor J. Ward is a specialist consultant in the hospitality, leisure and real estate industries. He is the Managing Director of W Hospitality Group, and Chairman of Hotel Partners Africa. His industry experience spans over 40 years, and includes advising clients on hotel, tourism and leisure development in over 90 countries across the globe, and in 39 in Africa.

Also expected at IHTEF 2019 is the famous Hospitality guru, Dewald Kruger, GM, Envoy Hotel, Abuja and he will lead the F&B (Food and Beverages) Arcade at event.


Dewald Kruger is an outstanding hotel professional with uncommon passion for Hospitality development, revenue management and workforce development. He will be sharing interesting facts and thoughts on Foods and Beverages as well as technology and digital Hospitality, during the “Food & Beverage Arcade, which is one of the major sideline activities set up to provide: “An Innovative Platform focusing on the F&B Sector, From F&B service to innovation to restaurant design and other emerging developments in the sector”.

Dewald is from Pretoria South Africa, and had his hotel school degree at the Johannesburg University, South Africa and an Advanced Businesses Practice Degree at the Tshwane University of Technology. He also trained at the Cordon Blue Cookery where he got his Gourmet Certificate in addition to Wine Producing and Tasting Certificate (3) at KWV -South Africa.

Before joining The Envoy Hotel Abuja, Dewald had worked in Hotels, Restaurants and in Facility Management. Specifically, his franchise exposure to global brands transcends continents having been exposed to Protea, Marriott’s, Best Western, Mantis, and ACCOR.


Also to be on the rostrum is Rosana Forseluo, Provost Wavecrest College of Hospitality, Lagos, who will be sharing ideas on how to help managers and proprietors build their workforce during the session on: “Building Human Capital, Standards & Regulations,” a well as creating awareness of the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), which no doubt will drive the quality standards and assurance in tourism, hospitality and allied services.

Other speakers include: Adedayo Adesugba (FIH, FNHCI, FITP), Honorary Chairman, Institute of Hospitality, Nig. Branch; Alhaji Rabo Saleh, FTAN President; Dr. Wasiu Babalola, SVP/CEO for Africa, Continent Hotels Worldwide, Turkey; Mr. Cyril Mokwe, Assistant F&B Manager, Transcorp Hilton Hotel; Aisha Abubakar Achonu, Co-founder, VHOOLINK Platform and Gabriel Ochonogor, Director/Co-founder, Rehoboth Recruiters, amongst others.

Mr. Excel Opuaru, xcellenciO Hospitality (Nomadic Hoteliers); Justina Ovat, Principal Consultant, Calabar Hospitality House; Josef Karim, Principal Partner of Destination Marketing Extra Ltd; Sunday Olugbenga MTI, Lead Consultant, Tojum Hospitality; Don Ebubeogu, MD, Tiger Foods Ltd; Dr,Victor Fodeke, Founder, African Environmental Network and Tony Kennedy, Snr Pastor, House of Royalty Int’l Christian Centre, are all expected to make up the crack team of resource persons at IHTEF 2019.

No doubt, the future of the industry will be redefined by this gathering of experts and a peek into the sessions as outlined in the Event programme, shows that Human Capital development, Technology, Hospitality, Environment/Climate Change and Growth will be very topical and comprehensively discussed.

According to Mr. Diala, “With the theme ‘Beyond 2020: Hospitality Innovation, Service and Growth’, the Abuja event will reflect the mood of the industry as it is related to service delivery and customer services. As the continent sets to witness an uncommon growth in the sector, it is very pertinent to build consensus of insights, trend fresh ideas and expand possibilities that will lead to maximum return on investment as well as enhance opportunities for the industry workforce.

The IHTEF Chief Executive, who is also the Global Climate Director at Green Support Initiative-Africa (CSR), further noted that the platform will provide an excellent opportunity for those in the related industries to come, exhibit their products and services and also meet with the ideal business expatriates and experts for extensive and lucrative networking.

“We are building a system that will work for the industry players and one that will promote capacity building across board with strategic plans to continue to reinvent ideas to boost services in the tourism industry.

Diala who is optimistic of the impact the IHTEF 2019 meeting will bring to the FCT and Nigeria in general said the tourism forum is systematically following the trend of the global industry to create a sustainable value chain for the hospitality, tourism and eco-sustainable sector internationally.

“Our focus is on Africa, our venue is Nigeria and I invite the drivers of the sector; hoteliers, investors, managers, vendors, development agencies, tour operators, tourism agencies, among others to take full advantage of this epoch making event,” an elated Chibuikem Diala enthused.


IHTEF is a homegrown platform of minds that is building the next generation of Hospitality Champions in Africa and Hospitality and Tourism industry watchers will recall that the maiden edition of the International Hospitality, Tourism and Eco-Sustainability Forum (IHTEF) was held in Asaba, the Delta State Capital between March 23rd and 24th 2016 at Nelrose Hotel.

The event which was a partnership project of the Delta State Tourism Board and Sustainable Eco6tems hosted over 400 local and global experts and participants, with interest in hospitality, tourism and climate change not only featured side events like Exhibitions, Panel discussions, Short Documentaries and Bed Making Competition but equally provided opportunities for product advertisement for Hotels, Financial Institutions, Airlines, Spa and Wellness outfits, Fashion Houses, Schools, Culinary and Hospitality Institutions, FMCGs, Furniture/Interior Companies, amongst others, all oof which set the tone for the subsequent editions.


The 2nd International Hospitality, Tourism and Eco-Sustainability Forum IHTEF, took place on the 4th – 5th of April, 2017, at the New Concorde Hotel, Owerri, Imo State with the theme: “Roadmaps to Excellence, Pathways to Progress” and was attended by tourism expert and founder, Akwaaba, African Travel Market,  Mr Ikechi Uko, who spoke on, “Hospitality and Tourism Excellence Versus Sustainable Progress in Sub-national Governments”, amongst other top players in the sector.

CEO, Capital Oil, and President, FC Ifeanyi also spoke on the “Nexus between Sports Tourism & Economic Growth,” while Dr. Michael Pinder, Group Managing Director, Sun Heavens Hotels delivered the keynote address titled: “Beyond 2020: Disruptions, Disruptors & Challenges Before Hotels in Nigeria”

The 2017 event which focused primarily on Workforce Development, Big Data, & Revenue Management, was co-sponsored by other partners, including Hotel Human Capital, Arsenal Golf& Country Club, Woodstar Hospitality.


The 3rd edition of the IHTEF took place at Villa Garden Hotel, Owerri, Nigeria, on 28 – 29 March, 2018, had the theme: “Emerging Market in Nigeria: The Future of Hospitality & Tourism” and for the first time, took on a continental flavour by providing an avenue for robust discussions and analyses on the growing importance of Hospitality and Tourism in Sub-regional economies across Africa, as well as harnessing means of building up foreign investment portfolio to boost the tourism sector in Africa for development and peace.

IHTEF 2018 had as its Conference Patron and Chairman, His Eminence King Alfred Diette-Spiff, The Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, who himself is a Professional Golfer”, and the event enjoyed the strong support and endorsement of Imo State Ministry of Tourism; Villa garden Hotel; Zigona Travel & Tours; FTAN South East; Institute of Hospitality UK (Nigeria); World Assembly of Youth; and Aisha Abu Bakr among others.

IHTEF was also prominently involved with the Niger Delta Food Basket and Crafts Show; a glittering event laced with exotic carvings of divergent crafts and scenting with the combinations of aromas and spices, which was held from 22nd- 24th August, 2018 at the Ibom Hall in the beautiful city of Uyo, the capital city of Akwa-Ibom state and was proudly supported by Ibom Tourism and Uyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


The extra-ordinary show, which was arguably the first of its kind in the Niger Delta Region, was sponsored by a collaboration of the Lord’s Basket Outreach and Sustainable Eco6tem and featured Food Entrepreneurs, Food Manufacturing Companies, Arts/Crafts, Cooperative Groups, Farmers Group, Beverage Companies, Salons/Spa, Telecoms, Advertising, and other related enterprises involved in the culinary and craft businesses across the Niger Delta region, hospitality entrepreneurs, farmers, craftsmen, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, seviceprenuers  as well as those involved in the food and beverages sector in the South South region.

The Niger Delta Food Basket was full of colour and culinary delights and attracted top notch business outfits including; Food Manufacturers, Equipment Suppliers, Development Organizations, Creative Businesses, Fashion & Designs establishments, Catering Services, Fabric Production/Retailers, as well as Supermarkets, Cash & Carry shops, Importing, Distributing and Wholesale companies, Food service companies, Department stores, Contract/Catering businesses, Restaurants, Hotels and Schools.


It will also be recalled that the CEO/Content Theorist at Sustainable Eco6tems Limited and Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, IHTEF, had also visited Rwanda in September last year and initiated an exciting Tourism cum Hospitality partnership, when he paid a historic ground breaking courtesy visit to the Nigerian High Commission in Rwanda and met with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Rwanda, Amb. Adamu Shuaibu, in Kigali on Thursday, September 13, 2018, in the capital city, Kigali.

The discussions at that ground breaking meeting had centred primarily on the organization of an International Hospitality, Tourism and Eco-Sustainability Forum, to hold in Kigali, the Rwandan Capital, which would explore the theme: “Forward Africa: Linking Hospitality, Tourism and the SDGS,” and provide a unique opportunity to leverage on ‘development tourism’, green hospitality and sustainable tourism consumption that will help in sustainably delivering the SDGs across sub-national governments in Africa.

The event, which had already received the endorsement and blessing of the Rwanda Convention Bureau, Institute of Hospitality UK/Nigeria Branch, Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, and supported by Tiger Foods Limited among others, would also be expected to drive hotel and tourism growth with strategic intention to increase workforce excellence as well as grow investments and strengthen Africa’s GDP leading to the actualization of Agenda 2030.

The modalities for the organization of the Tourism and Hospitality Forum as well as the consolidation of the partnership and collaboration, with the objective of strengthening and expanding of cultural ties between the two countries and exploring practical ways of enhancing and deepening the tourism investment potentials of both Nigeria and Rwanda, had also been discussed between Mr. Diala and Ambassador Shuaibu.

Mr. Diala, who shed more light on the historic Rwanda parley said, “Myself and Ambassador Adamu Shuaibu equally shared exciting ideas on the IHTEF Africa Vision and discussed elaborately on new tourism strategies and investment opportunities both for Nigeria and Rwanda. We also reflected on critical inputs of Hospitality and Tourism sector to the actualization of the SDGs and I am very pleased to report that the Amb. Adamu Shuaibu has expressed support for the IHTEF Africa Forum planned for Kigali, Rwanda”.

Diala, also paid glowing tribute to the Rwanda Government on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary (7/3/19)  after the Genocide that ravaged the country, and noted that the story of Rwanda was no more about the ‘Genocide’, but rather about how a resilient country with a discerning leader and a pool of young men, and especially women were not only working so hard to retell their story in a different and more humane way, without oil, gas or gold, but have turned their challenge to a memorable opportunity for leaders of war torn countries to learn from, through technology to tourism, (and exceptional MICE Blueprint) to human capital development, to security.

He equally advised the Nigerian government to imbibe the lessons learnt from the visit of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as guest to the 25th Anniversary and relate same to the peculiar and near similar situations in Nigeria, especially in areas where genocide like killings have been perpetrated.


“The brotherliness, conscious efforts at building peace and development of my hosts in Rwanda was quite infectious. In addition to the High Commissioner, I also met a few wonderful people along the line including Gabriel Byuma, Deputy Ambassador (Embassy of Sudan), and a host of other embassy statff including Jeanie, who treated me to a refreshing Lunch @RepubLounge Kigali. I ended my brief stay with a beautiful Sunday church service at St. Michaels Catholic Church, Kiyovu-town, Kigali (2nd Oldest Church in Kigali.

“Truly, this was a great opportunity to take tourism and hospitality to the next level, not just for Nigeria and Rwanda but indeed for the African continent as IHTEF meets Rwanda in Kigali as we expect development agencies, tourism stakeholders, sub-national governments, across Africa will key into this,” Diala enthused.


IHTEF is endorsed by Institute of Hospitality, UK, Nigeria branch, Association of Tourism and Hospitality Consultants of Nigeria (ATHCON). The Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, where the IHTEF 2019 event will hold between April 16 -17, 2019, is Official Venue Partner, while Tiger Foods and Beverages and Villa Garden Hotel Owerri are sponsors.



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