…Meets NIHOTOUR DG
…Holds Close Door Meeting With NTDC Boss, Runsewe
The President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) Mr. Bankole Bernard has restated the resolve of his administration to ensure a sustainable training and retraining programme for travel agents throughout his tenure.
Bernard disclosed that the free entry regime and lack of necessary legislative backing to track professionalism in the travel sector has contributed largely to the seeming lack of respect to agents by the people and government of Nigeria to the importance of the business.
Speaking during a visit to the Director-General of National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun in Abuja, NANTA boss told his host that time has come for regular training and retraining for travel agents so as to change their work ethics and spread prosperity across board.
According to him, “We are tired of being seen and addressed as travel agents, particularly in the most derogatory manner, hence as well trained professionals, we need be seen in our output and service to the travelling public and government as travel consultants.”
Towards this end, Bankole who led top members of the association such as 2nd National Deputy President, Mr. Kabir Maiwada, National Treasurer Mr. Zachary Abdullahie, Abuja chapter Vice President, Mr. Abdumalik Hassan and Executive Secretary Mr. Sylvester Olobor Osaro to the meeting, noted that the focal point of his administration is to drive bullish advocacy across the aviation and tourism publics in order to bring to bear the importance and contributions of the travel trade operators to the Nigerian economy.
He listed the National Assembly, the Presidency and media owners as places where he has so far visited to draw attention to towards this end.
He noted that the focal point of his administration is to address the plight of the aviation sector and travel agents, describing the visit to NIHOTOUR as the “icing on the Cake”
“We are here to seek your help to train and retrain our members without which we are doomed and cannot spread expected prosperity across board” he added.
In her response, Mrs. Chika Balogun, the DG, NIHOTOUR commended the initiative of the Bankole led NANTA, describing it as progressive and exemplary, noting that her organization will give the NANTA training expectations 100 per cent support.
“NANTA is about the only industry group that has come to us to seek collaboration on training and it shows that her leadership is futuristic in projection and planning and I am happy to associate with NANTA on this call and all her programmers’ of development” she added.
NIHOTOUR boss challenged NANTA to also think of floating an airline in the future that will set standards in operation and provide professional service in the industry to create employment and generate revenue to the association.
Promising to attend the NANTA Eminent persons lecture to honour Medview Managing Director, NIHOTOUR boss encouraged the association to take advantage of the sector to reposition its members, particularly in areas of certification.
In her words, “We shall join hands to certify your members and ensure we rid the sector of portfolio operators and fake travel agents that wants to rubbish the good names of certified and professional members of NANTA a.”
Meanwhile, NANTA President also visited the former DG, of Nigeria Tourism Development Cooperation (NTDC), Otunba Segun Runsewe in Abuja.
The meeting, which lasted for three hours behind closed doors, is part of NANTA President’s agenda to seek and under study the tourism sector, particularly getting the effective marketing and promotion nuggets on how the association can advocate the growth of domestic tourism in Nigeria.
Runsewe, a former NTDC helmsman was reputed to have adopted a comprehensive and bullish marketing profile for Nigeria tourism since independence, hence the visit of Bankole and his executive to learn and appreciate Runsewe’s contribution to tourism in Nigeria.
Though both parties promised to keep their discussion private, it was gathered that Runsewe promised to help NANTA in every way desirable and that can bring tourism back on the front burner of national economic discourse.