Travel agents under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) are lamenting their huge losses in revenue earnings last year.
NANTA recorded a loss of N500 million as revenue in 2022, due to drop in ticket sales.
Announcing this this during a media briefing on Friday in Lagos, South-West Nigeria, NANTA’s National President, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, said that there had been an appreciable decrease in ticket sales among its members as Nigerian travellers groan over exorbitant ticket fares.
She said that foreign airlines operating in Nigeria had blocked all low ticket inventories on their websites and had continued to sell the highest inventories as passengers find it difficult to buy affordable tickets.
Airfares, according to her, have risen to over 400 per cent to all international destinations.
She traced the situation to the $550million funds of foreign carriers trapped in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and not remitted home.
“The situation at hand has made Nigerian travellers to patronise agents in other African countries.
“Only less than 30 per cent tickets sold in Nigeria were done by local agents. With this, the Nigerian Government is losing a lot of tax.
“To reduce the amount of money that would be trapped in Nigeria, the foreign airlines have also stopped local travel agents from issuing tickets emanating from other countries into Nigeria,” she said.
Akporiaye noted that the association was pained, anxious, and worried, considering the consequences of the job losses recorded.
She said that the security risks to Nigerians travelling across borders to connect cheaper flghts was also worrisome.
“Also, there is the shame of a parallel dollar monetary policy in the travel sector against established national naira monetary policy.
” We are also worried that none of our political parties have deemed it necessary to look at aviation economics, particularly, its homogeneous socio-economic and security opportunities.
“We advise the new government to follow-up keenly on Bilateral Air services Agreement (BASA) and other extant aviation laws which will open our economy to serious local and foreign investors, we are also remain available for consultation,” she said.
Earlier, NANTA’s National Auditor, Mr. Yinka Olapade, said that developments in the travel sector had gone so bad that over 720,000 job losses had also been recorded due to the irregularities in the system.
He said that the travel sector contributed over 3.6 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation in 2021, but this dropped drastically in 2022.
He urged the Federal Government to look into the problems in the industry to guard against monumental effects.
“This industry should be taken seriously; it is a goldmine that is capable of repositioning the nation in different capacities,” he said.
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