The President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard has disclosed that their members sold over $1.4billion in tickets for foreign airlines in 2017.
Speaking at the January 2018 media breakfast with tourism and aviation journalists in Ikeja, Lagos, on the redemption of aviation and tourism sectors in Nigeria, Bernard stressed the need to re-position the country’s travel and tourism industry as well as to draw the attention of the government to the huge opportunities in the sector which they may not see.
He said NANTA is working closely with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC to grow the tourism industry.
The NANTA boss queried why the Nigeria airlines fails to partner with tour operators to sell many exciting decisions in Nigeria.
He observed that it will be very difficult for the domestic airlines to thrive in the country with the plethora of government charges and taxes.
He urged the government to hold a stakeholders’ meeting on how the domestic airlines can survive, stressing that domestic airlines need to fly to destinations that are profitable to their operations.
He observed that tourism will not thrive in Nigeria when the Agencies are buried under Information, Culture, National Orientation and Tourism and under one Minister who cares more about information and other areas.
On its Identity Card scheme, NANTA President said the Association will be most delighted to see the ID Card scheme come to reality when is launched in March for only the body’s approved and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA endorsed operators.
According to him: “This would not only change the perception of the general public, but give a sense of belonging to the practitioners within the industry; and be seen as true professionals that we are, which will automatically eliminate fraudsters.
“The immediate and future gains of this scheme are numerous and in due course, we shall invite you to the public unveiling of this strategic security product that will question and check the prowling of our business lines by fake and fly-by-night operators.
“Let me state earnestly that with this card, which has the backing of government aviation regulatory agencies, the days of spoilers in our midst are over.”
On the NANTA Act, Bernard noted that this enabling legislative backing is the ultimate dream of the founding fathers of the association and a responsibility to which his leadership must deliver.
He explained that the trade line cannot survive on long-term, if the body fails to mainstream the entry and exist regime which must capture sanitizing processes and mechanisms as is done globally.
NANTA boss said work has again begun in earnest on the project which has been on the drawing board of the association in the past 40 years.
He disclosed that this year, NANTA is going to hold its elective Annual General Meetings, AGM in Port-Harcourt, where he would be seeking for re-election.
Bernard said his seeking for re-election is to consolidate on the laudable programmes of the group and complete them.
NANTA president explained further that : “In picking the destination, we are mindful of the fact that a national association, such as NANTA with over 6,000 (Six thousand strong members) cannot pretend that our memberships outside Lagos, Abuja, Kano do not desire to feel the impact of our reach and influence, hence the decision of the BOT and my presidency to hold the AGM in Port Harcourt, the heart of Eastern and Southern Nigeria.
“In due course, the AGM committee will roll out programme for the AGM and we will call on the people and government of Rivers state to brace up and support the convention which will attract investment and good will to the people of this noble state.”