The President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) Mr. Bankole Bernard has assured that the association would embark on a sustainable training and retraining of travel agents.
Speaking in Abuja during his visit to the director-general of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, the NANTA president said the free entry regime and lack of necessary legislative backing to track professionalism in the travel sector had contributed largely to the seeming lack of recognition of the importance of travel agents.
He said the time had come for regular training and retraining for travel agents so as to change their work ethics and spread prosperity across the board.
“We are tired of being seen and addressed as travel agents, particularly in the most derogatory manner, hence as well trained professionals, we need to be seen in our output and service to the travelling public and government as travel consultants,” he said.
Bankole who was accompanied in the visit by the 2nd national deputy president of NANTA, Mr. Kabir Maiwada, national treasurer, Mr. Zachary Abdullahi, Abuja chapter vice president, Mr. Abdumalik Hassan and executive secretary, Mr. Sylvester Olobor Osaro said his administration would strive to drive bullish advocacy across the aviation and tourism publics.
The approach, he said, would bring out the importance and contributions of the travel trade operators to the Nigerian economy.
“We are here to seek your help to train and retrain our members without which we are doomed and cannot spread expected prosperity across board” he added.
“The focal point of my administration is to address the plight of the aviation sector and travel agents. Our visit is icing on the cake,” he said.
He disclosed that the association had already visited the national assembly, the presidency as well as media houses to draw attention to the contributions of travel agents.
In her response, Balogun, the director general NIHOTOUR thanked Bankole and his team for the initiative saying “it as progressive and exemplary.”
She said NIHOTOUR would will give the association’s training programme a hundred percent support.
“NANTA is about the only industry group that has come to seek collaboration on training and it shows that its leadership is futuristic in approach and planning. I am happy to associate with NANTA on this call and all its programmes of development,” she said.
The director general challenged NANTA to also think of floating an airline in the future saying it would set standard in operation and provide professional service in the industry, create employment and generate revenue for the association.
Balogun enjoined NANTA to take all the advantages in the sector to reposition its members, particularly in the areas of certification.
“We shall join hands to certify your members and ensure we rid the sector of portfolio operators and fake travel agents that are wont to rubbish the good names of certified and professional members of NANTA,” she added.
Meanwhile, NANTA has commissioned its Eastern zonal office in Port-Harcourt.
Addressing members from the zone which covers Akwa Ibom, Imo, Rivers, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Delta and Edo states, Bankole promised to make the association a true creator of wealth to its members as well as contribute to the country’s gross domestic product.
“Better days are coming. We must work and remain together,” he said.