The new executive members of the National Associations of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) has met with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to strengthen business operations of their members. The meeting became necessary in a bid to proffer solutions to the current crisis in the Nigeria travel sector. Speaking at a meeting between NANTA and IATA, when the former paid a courtesy visit to the latter’s office at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos recently, the NANTA president, Mr. Bernard Bankole said the focus of the visit was to establish a better relationship with the management of IATA and to also work out ways of giving NANTA’s members the rights they deserve when it comes to business.
“We also want to tell you that we are interested in visiting the regional office of IATA at Amman because there are certain things we have seen that we believe the people at the head office will be at a better position to explain to us”, Bankole said. NANTA president complained about the current crisis between the travel agents and the airlines, which he said drastic decision taken by the airlines is detrimental to the travel agents, describing it as unhealthy for the travel business. Bankole explained that, “there is solution to every challenge and if such arises, the next point of action is a round table discussion to put things at the right perspective, than the airlines taking a unilateral decision.
NANTA as a an organised body for the travel agencies needs to be given a sense of belonging and in a time of crisis, others allied in the industry should see NANTA as partners in progress not enemies”, the NANTA president said. In his response, the IATA, Area Manager, South West Africa, Mr Samson Fatokun lauded the step taken by NANTA to visit IATA. According to him, “NANTA’s visit falls within the IATA’s human touch move to give the best services to our partners in business. What IATA is concentrating on at present is co-operating with our partners in business, by creating a cordial business environment with agents to foster good relationships, which we call working with human touch. We assured our partners of prompt services and tried by all standards to fight for them at all times. We want the new NANTA to minimize conflict which can be achieved by close meetings with parties at any time there is crisis in the sector, he emphasised.”
Fatokun explained that in the travel business, IATA can be said to be at the middle, between the airlines and the travel agencies, adding that their role is to make sure that every partner in the sector have a level playing ground for a win-win deal. He promised IATA’s absolute support for NANTA in seeing that their new vision is successful, adding that it is when NANTA succeed that they also benefit from the sector. The meeting has in attendance the NANTA National President, Mr Bernard Bankole and executive secretary, Olobor Osaro Sylvester, from IATA; Area Manager, South West Africa, Samson Fatokun and Aviation Industry Analyst, South West. Africa, Ifeyinwa Ukpaka respectively.