Travel Agencies In Nigeria Loses N180B To COVID-19 Pandemic—NANTA
…Postpones Kano Elective AGM
…Appeals For Bailout
…To Perform Handing Over Ceremony In Lagos Next Week
The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA),an umbrella body of the travel agents operating in Nigeria, has put the losses incurred by its members at N180 billion since the outbreak of the dreaded pandemic; Coronavirus.
This is coming on the heels of the announcement by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), that the global aviation industry has lost $200 billion since the Coronavirus broke out in Wuham, China.
This is just as the body also stated that its members need bailout in form of interest free loan from banks to cushion the effect of COVID-19.
The National President of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Bernard, who disclosed this at the World Press Conference on the impact of Covid-19 on travel business and NANTA AGM Kano that was scheduled for Kano, added that last year travel agencies sold tickets worth $1 billion (about N360 million )
He added that by now travel agencies should making the Easter sales but that cannot happen as a result of the COVID-19.
On the type of bailout NANTA want for travel agencies, Bernard said his members would appeal to banks through the Central Bank(CBN) for interest free loan to ameliorate the effect of Coronavirus on their business.
Bernard also appealed to IATA to relax travel agencies payment plans by extending the payment period, as members would not want the stigma of default to be on them.
On suggestion that NANTA should seek audience with banks in the country to access the interest free loans, Bernard said that there was no way NANTA would do that, as doing that would mean talking to many banks but that instead NANTA would talk with IATA, as according to him the issue in question is a global one.
He stated that already NANTA had met with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on the issue and that the regulatory body had asked the association to put it in writing.
According to him, “We have told NCAA our plight and has directed us to put it in writing but I believe IATA should be able to come to our aid.”
…Why Elective AGM Was Postponed
Meanwhile, as COVID-19 continues to ravage countries with no end in sight, the association said it has postponed the elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was scheduled for Kano on March 25—27, 2020.
The National President, who made this known, explained that the decision to postpone the AGM was not done out of panic but in the interest of industry players and consumers.
“NANTA is not unmindful of the consequences of covid-19 economically to the wellbeing of our members and our principles but we are more concerned about the health of our industry players and consumers. We therefore crave for understanding and urge all NANTA members to obey all government rules and regulations concerning the management of this pandemic. We are not alarmed or in panic mood but sufficiently aware to follow directives of the federal government task force on covid-19, daily updates from Centre for Disease Control and daily monitoring of activities at our airports.
“Having taken into consideration, the effective consequence of the development, the EXCO and members of our association directed that our Kano AGM next week in Kano be postponed to a later date. It was a hard decision having assured you all two weeks ago that we are good to go. We are bent to be on the side of caution and not panic. We should know what covid-19 is all about since we are at the Centre, the engine room of the travel business which is presently grounded globally.
“We are concerned about our people, their health and future wellbeing during and after when this plague is over. Our association is in pain concerning the deserved shifting of our prime gathering, usually done to hand over reign of administration.”
He also disclosed that next week the Board of Trustees and the EXCO, will be in Lagos to hand over to a new EXCO led by Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, who is currently the 1st Deputy National President of NANTA.
He added that it should have been done in Kano but for COVID-19 watch regulations.