The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA ha concluded arrangements to unveil the Nigeria’s travel Industry practitioners identity card on June 26 in Lagos.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is expected to unveil the Biometric ID card at Landmark Hotel in Lekki, Lagos as the chief launcher.
Speaking in Lagos on Friday May 25, during a press briefing, the president of NANTA, Mr Bankole Bernard said this was to make sure that the anti-corruption crusade the government has embarked upon, that NANTA is in full support of it.
He said the project will cleanse the industry of all forms of fraudulent practices which will help in sanitising the travel industry.
Bernard said before the launch, NANTA will embark on awareness programmes.
“As of today on the social media circle, we have had over 33,000 viewers that have looked at the banner which we posted. We are not working in isolation of this, we are working with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA). This product is not a NANTA card, it is an industry card to give proper data, which the government will rely on to know the total number of travel agencies we have in Nigeria. I was in South Africa two weeks ago and I mentioned it to our counterparts in Kenya because NANTA works in collaboration with some other travel agencies around Africa. We work with Qatar to cover East Africa, which is Kenya Association of Travel Agencies, Association of South African Travel Agencies (ASATA).
“We are in the west and we NANTA in the West, Qatar in the East, ASATA in the South and Morocco Travel Agency in the North. What we are trying to do is to create a strong force for travel agencies in Africa so that we are not reckoned with at any point in time. When this was mentioned to Qatar, they said it is a laudable idea and they too will implement it,” NANTA boss explained.
Bernard added that the body decided to embark on the project because, “we found out that we are the downstream sector of the aviation sector and the government does not really understand our worth or the total number of travel agencies that are existing within the country. Again, because it is so porous, there are no entry or exit barriers, it has become all comers business, even for fraudsters”.
He said NANTA has realize that some people use travel agencies as a means of human trafficking and defrauding intending passengers.
He noted that: “We are saying we are not going to let this continues but we are going to show to the rest of the world that a private sector can get itself well organized and other sectors can learn from it. If we are able to know the total number of travel agencies in Nigeria, empirical data can be drawn from it and government can plan effectively for this sector. The government of today is showing a lot of interest in SMEs. We are doing all these because we are concerned about bringing sanity to the industry which we find ourselves”.
NANTA boss said in 2017, the travel agencies in Nigeria sold tickets worth N503billion, which contributes to our GDP.
Bernard who observed that the government is not moved because there is no data for them to run with, stressed that the figure NANTA has is so reliable because the body controls the market.
He stated further that: “After we have launched this ID card, no intending passengers should buy tickets without demanding to see this ID card because seeing the ID card means that such person is an authentic travel agency. After the launch, we are going to proceed on training of our members because when we train our members, it brings professionalism on-board and they can work just the way, other travel agencies in the world are working”.
Bernard added that the improvement NANTA has brought has made IATA to work with them in all ramifications.
According to him, the BVN of every individual that has the ID card has been attached to it, so the record is clean, you cannot forge it as we will be improving the level of security that we have on this ID card.
Bernard maintained that NANTA is going to ensure that the project is publicized in all the six geo-political zones of the country, adding that the good part of it is that NANTA has presence in five zones.
We are present in Abuja, to cover the central north. We are present in Kano, to cover the northern zone, we are present in Port Harcourt to cover the Eastern zone and in Ibadan and Lagos for the Western zone, Bernard said.