The President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard, has restated the resolve of his association to ensure a sustainable training and retraining programme for travel agents throughout his tenure.
Bernard disclosed that the free entry regime and lack of necessary legislative backing to track professionalism in the travel sector has contributed largely to the seeming lack of respect to agents by the people and government of Nigeria to the importance of the business.
Speaking during a visit to the Director-General of National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Mrs. Chika Balogun, in Abuja, the NANTA boss told his host that time has come for regular training and retraining for travel agents so as to change their work ethics and spread prosperity across 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 be seen in our output and service to the travelling public and government as travel consultants,” he explained.
Bankole, who led top members of NANTA such as 2nd National Deputy President, Mr. Kabir Maiwada; National Treasurer Mr. Zachary Abdullahie; Abuja chapter Vice President, Mr. Abdumalik Hassan and Executive Secretary, Mr. Sylvester Olobor Osaro, to the meeting, noted that the focal point of his administration is to drive bullish advocacy across the aviation and tourism publics in order to bring to bear the importance and contributions of the travel trade operators to the Nigerian economy.
He listed the National Assembly, the Presidency and the Media owners as places where he has so far visited to draw attention to towards this end.
He noted that the focal point of his administration is to address the plight of the aviation sector and travel agents, describing the visit to NIHOTOUR as the “icing on the Cake.”
“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.
In her response, Mrs. Chika Balogun, the DG, NIHOTOUR, thumbed up the initiative of the Bankole-led NANTA, describing it as progressive and exemplary, noting that her organisation will give the NANTA training expectations a hundred percent support.
“NANTA is about the only industry group that has come to us to seek collaboration on training and it shows that her leadership is futuristic in projection and planning and am happy to associate with NANTA on this call and all her programmes’ of development” she added.
NIHOTOUR boss therefore challenged NANTA to also think of floating an airline in the future that will set standards in operation and provide professional service in the industry to create employment, and generate revenue to the association.
Promising to attend the NANTA Eminent persons lecture to honour Medview Managing Director, the NIHOTOUR boss encouraged NANTA to take all the advantage in the sector to reposition its members, particularly in 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 won’t to rubbish the good names of certified and professional members of NANTA”.