90% Of Travel Agencies In Nigeria Not Registered–NANTA President
…Presents Travel Practitioners Identification Project To Stakeholders
…As NCAA Assures Association Of Support
The President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard has disclosed that 90 per cent of the estimated 6,000 travel agencies in the country are not registered with the body.
He made this known while presenting the association’s newest initiative, “Travel Practitioners Identification Project” aimed at sanitising the travel agencies downstream sector to industry stakeholders at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Annex, international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos today.
The project, he said would ensure that every persons whether owner or employee of travel agency must have identity card with Unique Identification Number(UIN) and that with this there would be a database of travel agencies and their personnel.
He added that with this, government agencies, airlines and other stakeholders will not find it difficult knowing the genuine travel agencies operating in the country.
He stated that this project became necessary following a series of negative happenings and reports about the fraudulent activities of some travel agencies, adding that these agencies instead of assisting unsuspecting air travellers to purchase tickets and book for flight prefer to defraud them.
Bernard lamented that NANTA as an umbrella body of travel agencies in the country was tired of the shame some agents have brought to the association, adding that the situation has gone from bad to worse, as potential air travellers can no longer differentiate between genuine and fraudulent travel agents.
The economic situation in the country, he stated had further compounded the situation, pointing out that when people lost their jobs today, the first thing they do is to quickly go into travel business creating the impression that travel agency business is for every Dick, Tom and Harry.
To buttress his point, he cited the case of a lady, who under the pretext of carrying out travel agency job defrauded unsuspecting Nigerian travellers of a total of N56 million
The NANTA boss stated that as a result of all these happenings, passengers now go straight to airlines to purchase their tickets as they cannot differentiate between the real, fake travel agencies.
According to him, “We are tired of how the industry is and we want to move to the next level. That is why we are here .That is why we called this stakeholders meeting today. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are here. We want your supports and contributions to this project and also move the industry forward.”
Bernard stated that with the support of IATA, NCAA, airlines and other stakeholders, “we will be creating a better future not only for ourselves but for generations yet to come.”
Speaking further, he said, “We have not come here to tell you that we are experts and that we know everything but to tell you that we are trying to sanitise the downstream sector of the aviation industry most especially now that there is a provision in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) that all travel agencies in the country must register with NANTA.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Usman Muktar described the project as a laudable, adding that it would bring sanity to the travel agency business.
Usman, who was represented by NCAA, Director of Air transport Regulations(DATRs), Group Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita(rtd), posited that that there are many fraudulent and fake practitioners in the system , adding that several instance abound where travel agents reap off passengers, which according to him is giving the genuine professionals bad name.
According to him, “When they brought the idea of sanitising the downstream in the aviation industry, we quickly embraced it because it is a laudable project.”
Like the NANTA President, he also lamented that 1/3 of the travel agencies in Nigeria are not registered with the association, calling IATA to assist NANTA in this regard to sanitise the system.
In his words, “NCAA assures NANTA of support. It is going to be a win-win situation for everybody that is interested in making the downstream sector in the aviation industry grow.”
Present at the stakeholders meeting are : officials of IATA, NCAA, airlines, Global Distribution System(GDS),travel agencies among others.