The National President of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) Mr Bankole Bernard has called on its members to use the opportunity available in the tourism industry to chart a new course.
He made the call while delivering his welcome address at the 41st Non Elective General Annual Meeting (AGM) with the theme, “Tourism in a Recessed Economy: The Way Forward” held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
Addressing its members that came from all parts of the country in their thousand occupying every available seats, the NANTA boss stated that the association in its forties had come of age and that it is expected to show maturity, visibility, new drive wisdom and understanding in the affairs of its members, particularly at a time like when recession is in the country.
According to him, “We call on our members to remain strong resolute and also endeavour to take advantage of every available opportunity in tourism to chart a new course. At our end, this council and the BOT of NANTA will strive to sustain the advocacy to occupy the Nigerian travel and tourism space like it has never been done before.”
He stated that for NANTA, particularly the leadership and members of very supportive Board of Trustees (BOT), the challenges that members face must be addressed and treated with urgency and corresponding insight bearing in mind the interest and advantage to its members and generations of NANTA households yet to be named.
The NANTA boss posited that Nigeria is going through recession is not the issue but that what should be the ultimate concern to members is how to find long lasting solutions to these challenges.
In his words, “That our nation is in recession today is not the issue but finding a true solution to the various challenges this economic meltdown present to us.”
Bernard added that the challenges airlines in the country are facing have ripple effect on travel agents in the country, to the extent that it has created bad business for the travel agencies
He listed some of the problems bedeviling airlines to include but not limited to global challenges part of which is the inability to repatriate ticket sales proceeds, unstable and scarce Foreign Exchange, which has led to partial and for others, total withdrawal of their airlines from the Nigerian airspace, the restriction of some inventories by some airlines like SOTO/SOTI tickets and finally the closure of the Abuja Airport.
These challenges, he said no doubt brought hard and unfriendly business atmosphere to its teeming members, adding that this scenario presents a huge burden to the association.
Bernard stated that the 41st AGM had provided members opportunity to discuss the issues and proffer solutions to some if not all the challenges NANTA members are facing