Aviation Experts NANTA Reflect on Protecting Nigerian Travel Market

By Chinelo Obogo

The National Association of Travel Agencies of Nigeria (NANTA) will host industry experts on March 24-25 in Kano to brainstorm strategies that would ensure the protection of the Nigerian travel market.

At a press conference held during the week in Lagos, NANTA President Susan Akporiaye said the body was very concerned about the survival of the travel market and was taking very active steps to ensure that the federal government pass laws to protect local content.

She said NANTA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held in Kano on March 24-25 and it is during the program that local content protection issues will be discussed and recommendations made.

“There is a long history of imbalance in our relations in the aviation industry. Compared to other countries like Kenya, South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, the Nigerian travel agents are far behind in exercising their rights through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, so there is a need to address the turmoil in consumer relations in travel and to present the opportunities for intervention to the commission and hence the theme of this year’s AGM is “Anti Trust: Oppourtunites available for the protection of the Nigerian travel market”.The keynote speaker will be Dr Kemi Pinheiro, Chairman of the Lagos Law Reform Commission.

“Unbeknownst to many, there are clear examples of other key sectors in Nigeria where anti-trust policies have been successfully interpreted and executed for the balance and stability of these sectors. There is a need to work more closely with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and further support the empowerment of the authority for stronger national regulation. On our side, NANTA is committed to upholding professionalism in the ranks of travel agents.

“In the broadcasting sector, the FG unveiled a code aimed at protecting and energizing local content and preventing monopolies. We are also trying to protect the Nigerian travel market and our local market as we are not protected at all. This discussion will not stop at the AGM, we are ready to take it further and the downstream sector of aviation could find its own.

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“The AGM is sponsored by Wakanow and the group of attendees would be NCAA Chief Executive Captain Musa Nuhu, Account Management Officer, West and Central Africa, IATA, Dr Samson Fatokun, outgoing Chairman of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Benard, Chairman, Saber Networks, Gbenga Olowo, Country Manager, Air France/KLM, Ms. Christine Qantin,” she said.

She also revealed that to generate local content, there would be a Durbar festival in the Emir of Kano’s palace on March 23, saying, “We are holding a mini Durbar which would be a very colorful event and the Emir of Kano has approved the party to take place in his palace. This is part of protecting local content. If we don’t protect it, anyone can come in and cash out.

Willie R. Golden