• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Nigerians shift to local tourist centres amid surging airfares

Nigerians shift to local tourist centres amid surging airfares

The soaring cost of airfares to Europe and the US has forced many Nigerians to cancel their travel plans and opt to do their vacations in the country instead.

The cost of airfares from Nigeria to various destinations has seen a sharp rise since the exchange rate for ticket pricing hit over N760/$, a dollar exchanged for N773 in the official market and N940 in the parallel market on Wednesday morning.

The development came a few days after the Central Bank of Nigeria floated the naira and directed commercial banks to sell foreign exchange at market-determined rates.

“My summer plans were supposed to be in Malta and Italy as I didn’t want to waste a year’s Schengen visa. When I saw the ticket and summer travel costs, I just cancelled because it was far beyond my budget,” said Tomilola Majek, CEO of Bankly.

“Now, my summer holiday is four days in Lakowe Lakes and I love it,” he said.

Just like Majek, several Nigerians also suspended their trips during this year’s summer holidays.

Read also: Top destinations for Nigerian travellers amid soaring ticket prices

In June, BusinessDay reported that several Nigerians had suspended their travel plans to the United States and Europe owing to a hike in airfares which has tripled amid FX scarcity in the country.

Tickets for economy class from Nigeria to cities across Europe and the US cost as much as N3 million, according to BusinessDay findings.

Adegoke Ife while complaining about the flight prices of international trips due to FX issues said, “I predicted a reduction in vacations abroad and more patronage of destinations located in Nigeria. Local holiday destinations are about to start smiling.”

Nigerian travellers quickly had to respond to the increase by suspending their travel plans to Europe and the United States.

However, Nigerian destinations have continued to gain traction as a result of their affordability and proximity.

Jimi Akintunde, a cyber security expert who recently got married also changed his honeymoon plans from an international vacation to within Nigeria.

“My wife and I had initially planned to travel to Seychelles for our honeymoon but changed plans to spend it at a private resort here in Lagos, we already incurred so much cost from the wedding, and the price of flight and visa issues were a factor,” he said.

@Isio_gaia an HR specialist recently tweeted “Bali was my plan. I ended up in the Tarkwa Bay cabin. I now know all the nice holiday spots in Nigeria.”

Nsika Akpan, CEO TripFest.ng a travel agent and vacation connoisseur said, “We’ve seen a lot of people suspend their study trip and vacation trip due to the FX issues causing the price of flights to increase.”

“For people trying to travel to Canada either to study or vacation, move their plans forward or cancel it because a one-way ticket is about N3 million,” Akpan added.

He said that there’s been a huge decline in the number of people going on vacation owing to flight prices getting three times higher than the initial price.

Read also: More options for Nigerian travellers as Ethiopian Airlines adds Atlanta to its Network

“On the chart vacation is low, for example, people who want to go to Kenya after hearing that the price of the flight has moved from N450,000 to N1 million either cancel or wait longer to save the amount.”

He said people now opt for closer African countries or local tourist centres.

The surge in the patronage of local tourist centres in the country is a sign of the changing economic landscape. As the cost of living continues to rise, people are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to travel abroad.

However, with so many great places to visit within Nigeria, there is no need to despair.

BusinessDay findings showed that the top local destinations within Nigeria include Le Meridien Ibom Icon Hotel & Golf Resort – Akwa Ibom State, Obudu cattle ranch, IITA Ibadan, Lakowe Lakes and Golf, Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort, La Campagne Tropicana, and several other places.

These destinations offer a variety of activities and amenities, from swimming and golfing to hiking and sightseeing. They are also relatively affordable, making them a great option for budget-conscious travellers.

With their room ranging from N26,000 – N300,000 per night with varying numbers of rooms.