We Sold Over $1.4B Tickets For Airlines In 2017—-Bernard, NANTA Boss
…Launches National Identity For Members In March
…Takes Banks To NASS Over Selling Of Tickets
…To Seek For Re-Election
President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) Mr. Bankole Bernard has revealed that travel agencies in the country sold over $1.4billion worth of tickets for airlines in 2017.
This is just as he insisted that Nigerian commercial banks still sell airlines’ tickets, a responsibility that should statutorily be for the travel agencies.
Bernard spoke during a breakfast meeting with a select aviation and tourism journalists in Lagos today.
Bernard, who fielded questions from journalists on several issues as it concerns aviation and tourism, opined that the huge money involve in the downstream sector of aviation would continue to attract banks, hence the usurping of the powers of the travel agents.
He stated that NANTA as a body would take the issue of commercial banks selling tickets to the National Assembly, adding the absence of Act setting up NANTA created room for banks to sell tickets with impunity.
The NANTA boss however added that work had started on the possibility of having an enabling ACT that would give backing to the dreams of the founding fathers of the body.
The draft of the ACT, he said was ready and undergoing scrutiny,adding that hopefully there would be a public hearing before the end of the year.
On Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA’s) signed between Nigeria and other countries, Bernard said that they should be urgently reviewed to meet the challenges of current realities.
Some of the BASA’s , he argued were signed years back adding that while other countries have reviewed theirs to reflect current realities in today’s aviation, Nigeria has refused to reviewed her BASA’s thereby making our domestic airlines vulnerable .
He added that because of this, virtually all the foreign airlines operate to Abuja and Lagos, while Nigeria airlines have not been able to reciprocate, most of the BASA’s as they are often frustrated when they try to reciprocate these agreements.
Bernard called on the Federal Government to call a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss how it would assist the domestic airlines, adding that apart from the BASA issue , the climate which the local operate in is not friendly compared to their counterparts in other countries that pampered by their various government.
He advised domestic airline operators to also do a rethink, adding that “you cannot continue to things the same way for several years and get different result. They must put their house in order.”
On the proposed national Identity cards for is teeming members, which has been endorsed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the NANTA President informed that the scheme would be launched in March .
According to him, “ This would not only change the perception of the general public but it would also 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.”
Bernard stated that for the identity cards to have credibility, the organisation got NCAA involved and that the regulatory body approved all the recommendations as it concerns the identity card.
He assured that NANATA would very soon visit the Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC),Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) and Nigeria Police to sensitise them on what NANTA is doing and how the proposed identity card will look like.
In his words, “NANTA is here to stay and to change the outlook of travel and tourism. NANTA is willing to do more this year. This year, we want to draw the government attention to travel and tourism as alternative to oil.”
On NANTA’s projection for 2018, he stated that 2017 was dedicated to advocacy but that this year; 2018 emphasis would be on the product.
Speaking on NANTA Annual General Meeting(AGM), the President hinted that it would come up in Port Harcourt, adding that in selecting the venue for the meeting, the association took cognisance of the fact that members in the Eastern region needed to feel the impact of association.
According to him, “This year is our elective AGM which is expected to take place in the oil city of Port Harcourt. 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 Board of Trustees (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”.
On whether he would be going for a second term, Bernard said he would go for re-election from members, adding that this would afford him the opportunity to complete the projects he started.