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The projected 3.4 trillion dollars Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) rated Africa Continental Free Trade Area ( AFCFTA) Initiative has gotten a buy- in of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA).
The initiative is to be facilitated through aviation collaborations with four major African indigenous airlines, Kenya Airways, Egypt air, Ethiopian Airlines and Rwanda Air.
With expected liberalized free trade and duty free enabled goods and services regime across African borders despite challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and teething problems, NANTA believes that an organised trade and tourism marketing among African nations facilitated by well thought out aviation connectivity, African Union passport and synchronised visa regime, among nations under the AFCFTA deal, could change the economic narratives of the estimated 1.3 billion population of African nations.
Concerned that the trade pact has potentials of lifting out the vulnerable poor, particularly African women who are made up of about 70% the informal sectors in Africa out of poverty, NANTA President, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye says AFCFTA presents a refreshing assessment of the tourism and aviation collaborations with African airlines at the forefront to exploit and boost intra African trade, create travel and tourism jobs and improve competitiveness of the unique African culture, indigenous craft and tourism to the global community.
Speaking during the visit to Kenya Airways management, the NANTA President called for a detailed and focal attention on Kenya tourism within the AFCFTA agenda and with NANTA members, pushing the frontiers of its marketing and promotion.
She believes Kenya Airways can be a veritable partner in the NANTA driven vision to create jobs across and within Africa region through intra continental tourism initiatives.
Hafis Balogun, Country Manager, Kenya Airways who received the NANTA President and her delegation, praised the NANTA Africa to Africa Tourism Promotion campaign, noting that Kenya Airways, will partner with the association to give a different holiday experience to Nigerians and Africans interested to visit Kenya.
Balogun who conducted the NANTA team round the office of Kenya Holidays, noted that the office, in response to the dreams and demand for holiday visits to Kenya, will in due course, roll out specific tourism products and to which the association will be the driving force.
“We have taken note of the desire to rebrand and drive the Kenya Holidays with safari, beach shopping tourism products enabled agenda, and with your deserving collaboration, Kenya tourism would rebound fast.
At the Victoria Island Office of Ethiopian Airlines, Akporiaye reiterated the need for intra African tourism rebirth and challenged the management to facilitate the promotion of Ethiopian religious tourism and its agricultural offerings.
General Manager, Ethiopian Airlines, Nigeria, Mr. Shimeles Arage noted that the Ethiopian national carrier has been in the forefront of African connectivity and integration, stating that the airline hauled across the world and Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic medical response equipment and other cargos which helped African businesses in particular to remain afloat at the height of the pandemic.
” We shall collaborate with nanta on this laudable campaign and would do the needful in truely letting Africans and Nigerians know more about Ethiopia tourism which I must admit, we have not given the true focal attention.”
He noted that Nigerians would be amazed at the religious tourism offerings of northern Ethiopia which harbours the Ark of the Covenant and other relics and highpoints of early Christianity, not excluding the distinct aromatic Ethiopian Coffee brand.
“We are with you on this amazing Africa to Africa tourism initiative” Mr Arage assured nanta President and her team which comprised of the Lagos zonal Vice President, Yinka Folami, National Auditor, Yinka Olapade and executive secretary, Sylvester Olobor.
Addressing Rwanda Air management, Akporiaye stressed that Rwanda Air had shown capacity and discipline since bestriding the African aviation space; hence the need to be part of the NANTA driven African tourism promotion agenda, particularly in showcasing its famed tourism infrastructural renewals and agricultural offerings.
Country manager, Rwanda Air, Muhamud Wayiga praised NANTA for being in the forefront of the AFCFTA tourism buy-in, requesting the association to furnish him with Nigerian tourism products and destinations to enable the airline market Nigeria not only in Rwanda but in others countries where the airline has established presence.Google+