PRESIDENT of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Elder Gabriel Olowo has stated categorically that Nigerian travel agents are facing extinction as booking figures have been declining yearly since 2014 and has called on Government to come together with relevant stakeholders to address the declining trend of the business
Olowo made this known in his welcome address at the 1st Quarter Breakfast Meeting of the Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative with theme: Nigerian travel agencies challenges and regulations held at the Golfview Hotel, Ikeja Lagos.
The ART President who pulled out some disturbing stats about the downstream sector of the aviation industry said that West Africa travel agents sold 8.1 million of which Nigeria accounts for 50% of that business sales which he said has declined tremendously in five years.
“If you look at the air bookings captured sold by travel agencies globally, I give you the map of Africa, this figure does not include direct sales of airlines , the ones through their portals , the one through their offices. The ones that go through their agencies network, you see that booking by agencies in North Africa booking by agencies 8.8 million, in East Africa 6.9 million, South Africa 11.9 million, West Africa 8.1 and Central Africa 2.6
Our next slide will show you that west Africa we are 8.1 million and Nigeria accounts for 50% of that business,” Olowo said.
“Since 2014, in the last 5-6 years, the full booking that has been coming in year on year has been declining 7%, 5% and it has declined 3.5million bookings by 2018. This decline simply means our downstream sector is already seeing extinction and it concerns aviation round table. Some of them are our members and they are shouting the regulations and our principal partners the airlines. ”
In his paper, Challenges of Travel Agencies in Nigeria, Bernard Bankole the President of the National Travel Agency of Nigeria (NANTA), identified poor regulation and neglect of the downstream sector of the aviation industry as well as infiltration of the industry by all and sundry.
He also identified lack of awareness of the industry, no proper or reliable source of data records; ignorance to its contribution to the nation’s GDP by government, poor business etiquette and lack of a national carrier for full representation on the global conference.
Bankole therefore canvassed proper regulation of the industry, a local content law to preserve and protect the downstream sector, creation of authentic data banks as well as an enabling environment to grow the downstream sector.