• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigerian travel firms miss out on World Cup ticket sales

Qatar 2022 and the Western world – matters arising

Travel and tour firms in Nigeria are missing out on sales of air tickets, hotel bookings and airport pick-ups, among others, ahead of the 2022 World Cup as the country failed to qualify for the competition.

The 2022 World Cup is slated to take place in Qatar from November 20 to December 18.

Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier airline of Qatar, announced a few months ago that it was boosting its workforce by 10,000 to handle an influx of passengers flying into Doha for the World Cup and in line with a broader post-pandemic expansion.

BusinessDay findings show that travel firms and tour operators in Europe, United Arab Emirates and the United States are cashing in on travel and hotel deals for the World Cup.

Abdulmalik Hassan, managing director and CEO of Famak Travels, told BusinessDay that tour packages to Qatar from Nigeria this season is not really happening because Nigeria is not part of the countries participating in the World Cup.

“If Nigeria was part of the countries playing the World Cup, we would have had many travel agencies advertising World Cup packages to customers. Even Qatar Airways has increased their flights to other counties and increased staff numbers to handle the surge but traffic from Nigeria has not changed,” Hassan said.

He, however, said a few travel agents selling tour packages to Qatar have been doing so before now but are leveraging the World Cup season to sell a few more than they would have sold.

For instance, HotSpot Travel & Tours, a tour company in Nigeria, is selling an all-inclusive package with airport pickup, flight tickets, hotel accommodation, meet and greet reception, match tickets, travel insurance, visa and excursion for $3,500.

A source at HotSpot who would not want her name mentioned said the company already had tour packages to Qatar but saw the season as an opportunity to sell the World Cup packages.

Earlier, Qatar Airways had announced that it would collaborate with other airlines, including Flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air, and Saudia, to offer a match-day shuttle service during the World Cup for the super-rich and VIPs interested in catching up on the game.

Read also: Qatar conscripts civilians for FIFA World Cup security

DC Aviation Al-Futtaim (DCAF), a joint venture between Dubai-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim and Germany’s DC Aviation GmbH, is also experiencing a massive uptick in demand. Holger Ostheimer, managing director at DCAF, confirmed the same in a statement: “We have seen a sharp increase in inquiries for the later stages of the tournament from the first week of December until the finals, which take place on December 18.”

According to the company, the request seems to vary from a light 10-seater Falcon 2000 and a large-size cabin aircraft.

Make My Trip, India’s leading travel company, has come forth with some great deals on Qatar World Cup tour packages.

LavaCanza, a Delhi-based travel company, is also offering Qatar World Cup travel packages to football enthusiasts across its country. The travel packages include economy airfare, accommodation, pick and drop services between airport and hotel, welcome travel kit, personalised itinerary and local guide services for sightseeing.

In 2018, many Nigerians travelled for the World Cup in Russia as the country qualified for the competition.

The Russian Interior Ministry said in 2019 that 1,863 Nigerian football fans that arrived in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup were still in the country.