Naira appreciation, lower ticket inventory, reasons for fare crash, says NANTA, plans 48th AGM

  • Nigeria lost 40% ticket sales to other nations

 

The President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye has attributed the opening of lower fare inventories by foreign airlines, the strength of the Naira and the clearing of a backlog of international carriers’ trapped fund backlog as the reason for the reduction in air fares.

Fares on international routes from Nigeria for economy class tickets were as high as N2.5 million and N3 million a few weeks ago as the airlines closed all lower inventories and sold the high fares to travellers from Nigeria.

Akporiaye who spoke at a NANTA press conference on Tuesday in Lagos said. At the same time, the problem of high fares lasted, the countries lost the travel market to neighbouring countries like Ghana and Togo as many Nigerians slipped through the borders to travel as those countries provided cheaper fares.

She equally stated that during that period, most tickets were sold outside Nigeria in what is generally referred to in travel parlance as Sold Outside Ticketed Outside (SOTO); a situation that brought revenue to the travel operators but a loss to the country as Nigeria lost taxes that would have accrued to the nation.

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She put the reduction in ticket revenue in 2023 last quarter at 40% compared to the same period in 2022.

Suzan Akporiaye, NANTA President

“Majority of the tickets we sold were out of Nigeria. Those sales were not attributed to the Nigerian market. If we access the Ghana market or any West African country market, they would see unusual growth, while it is a downward trend for the Nigerian market. This is because the airlines closed the lower inventories while the same lower inventories were open in other markets.

 “It was difficult for us to be able to get foreign exchange. The restrictions put by the airlines because of foreign exchange availability led to a drop in sales from Nigeria. Our members had to put up a survival mechanism.

 “So, what we did as travel agencies was to move our sales to other markets. Interestingly, the travel is still from Nigeria. Passengers still travel from Lagos to London but the tickets were bought in Ghana. So, the revenue will be attributed to Ghana and not to us,” Akporiaye added.

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Akporiaye called for peace and unity as the body goes to the poll to elect a new NANTA President on April 26th, 2024, saying, “I am not leaving behind a sword for NANTA but peace and unity. The elections will come and go, and NANTA will be better for it.”

Speaking on the forthcoming 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is scheduled to be held between April 23 through 27, 2024 in Lagos with the theme: ‘Unlocking Africa’s Economic Potential: Travel and Tourism as a catalyst for intra Africa Business Investment and Trade,’ Akporiaye said that the last four years of her leadership as NANTA President had been challenging, especially with trapped funds of foreign airlines in the country, restrictions of the lower inventories to the travel agencies from Nigeria by airlines and the unstable foreign exchange, which stopped some passengers from flying through the nation’s airports.

She disclosed that NANTA emphasised that when she assumed office about four years ago, NCAA had only 300 travel agencies in its book, but said enhanced relationship, unification and advocacy increased the number to the present figure.

Besides, she stressed that NANTA was working with NCAA to fish out quacks in the profession, noting that to be recognised as a travel agency, such an organisation must have NCAA certification, recommended by at least one financial member of NANTA and must be recognised by the association.

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She was however quick to say that “there are quacks in every profession.”

On the forthcoming AGM, Akporiaye stated that Mr. Humphery Geiseb, the High Commissioner, Namibia to Nigeria would be the keynote speaker and special guest.

Geiseb would speak on ‘Destination Africa: Exploring Technology and Innovation Driven Tourism, A Call to Action for Professionals in Travel and Tourism.’

Also, Festus Keyamo and Lola Ace-John, the Ministers of Aviation and Aerospace Development and Tourism, respectively are some of the special guests of the day and will deliver goodwill messages at the AGM.

Besides, Allen Oyeama, Chairman of Air Peace would speak on collaborative strategies for aviation stakeholders and professionals within the ‘SAATM Policy and Economic Framework.’

Wole Shadare