Getting behind our industry | The Planner
The past two years have shown us that the power of collaboration can get us through anything. talks to Walk for Love founder, Toni Ukachukwu.

No-one can deny the collective personal and professional difficulties we have faced over the past two years. Nigerian-born Toni Ukachukwu, CEO of Aviators Africa, recognises that while industry value chains that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as tourism, our focus should be on moving forward. To this end, he recently launched the Walk for Love initiative to bring the tourism industry together in such a way that shows the dedication, passion and resilience of all who are part of it.

“Walk for Love came about in the background to what has been happening in Africa during the pandemic. Being part of the aviation sector, I’ve always supported the idea of a borderless, connected Africa so this is what got me asking myself, ‘what can I do?’ That is where the Walk for Love idea came to me,” Toni explains, also highlighting that Africa has not been a priority in the global economic agenda and the pandemic recovery, which gave him further impetus to launch the Walk for Love campaign.

Toni then put pen to paper and started fleshing out a draft concept for the Walk for Love initiative. This will be a 2km walk happening at the same time in several cities across the African continent that will also serve as a showcase for the various destinations in which it will be taking place. It will go ahead on 12 February 2022, during the month of love under the theme of ‘Connect Africa’.

“Walk for Love is a pan-African advocacy campaign to foster love within Africa. We want to encourage Africa to look within itself because Africa is ‘enough’,” notes Toni.

“Africa has been on the receiving end of this pandemic, and I asked, ‘why is that so?’”

Creating meaning

Through his work with the aviation sector and the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Toni believes that time is now for Africa to play to its strengths.

“Africa has been on the receiving end of this pandemic, and I asked, ‘why is that so?’” says Toni.

The Walk for Love campaign’s mission is to close the gaps in the travel and tourism value chains through a pan-African project to create socio-economic development. Its vision is to foster unity and solidarity by engaging around the potential of a domestic African tourism market that is as diverse as it is inclusive.

Through various events, Toni believes this will go some way in achieving these objectives that are intended to create a borderless, self-sustaining Africa.

“Every day that I wake up, I think from a pan-African perspective, of what can Africa do looking at how the pandemic has devastated the aviation and travel and tourism value chains. I think about what I can do to help Africa rebound. I am Nigerian but I don’t think from a Nigerian perspective – I see Africa as one and borderless,” he concludes.

Read more about the Walk for Love campaign here and register your interest and participation in the Walk for Love campaign here.