By Chinelo Obogo
National The Travel Agencies Association of Nigeria (NANTA) said the refusal of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release $450 million belonging to foreign airlines serving the country has crippled the travel agency industry.
Speaking to the Daily Sun, Association President Ms Susan Akporiaye said the situation is now so bad that for some time travel agents have been unable to sell tickets because foreign airlines have removed the lowest base rate from their price inventories and replaced with higher ones to bypass the CBN and buy currencies on the parallel market.
She said that at present many of their clients wishing to travel for summer holidays and students, studying abroad wishing to travel to resume their studies, are now stuck in Nigeria as they cannot afford the exorbitant cost of plane tickets.
She said the current situation presents a real threat to the industry and the continuity of their business as travel professionals, given the potential job losses and consequent national economic losses as the world gradually exits. of the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Summer travel for us in Nigeria is under threat and has been for two months. It’s been horrible for us, people want to travel but we can’t sell because ticket prices are ridiculously high.
For example, Virgin Atlantic removed all inventory and now only the highest class is selling on the system for N1.8 million. British Airways always has lower fares of around N800,000 but look at it the fares are so ridiculous.
“We are no longer benefiting from it and that is why we have asked the CBN to release the funds so that things can normalize for us to sell tickets. It’s so frustrating. For a week I have been receiving calls from my clients who want to travel and when I send the cost of the flight, they tell me that it is too high. This applies to those who want to travel to different countries. It’s so sad. Insofar as I want to make sales, I also feel sorry for my passengers. Normally, a family of four would spend 1.7 million naira on flights, but now we are talking about 3 million naira. “We’ve had trouble making sales not because the requests aren’t coming in, but every time we get requests and send the cost, passengers change their minds because the fares are too high. So for At the moment, we are only on business trips. We are sending an SOS to the Presidency to help us.