The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) to grant travel agencies across the country access to soft loans which are interest-free in order to cushion the impact of Coronavirus on the travel business.
The association said travel agents are expected to remit monies generated on sale of tickets over a period of time to the International Air Transport Association, (IATA) but noted that unfortunately, they have not been able to sell tickets and the few tickets sold have not been paid for. Therefore, it may be difficult to remit the monies to IATA at these trying times.
NANTA is, therefore, pleading with IATA to relax payment circle on the remittances and banks to help secure guarantees for a period of time.
Speaking during a press conference to disclose the impact of Coronavirus on travel business and announce the cancellation of the NANTA AGM in Kano, Bankole Bernard, President of NANTA, said the travel agents may lose over 50percent on sale of tickets this year and over 24,000 travel agents may lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus.
He said this projection was as a result of already envisaged loss on ticket sales for two peak periods – Easter and summer.
Bernard, however, commended the federal government for its response so far and particularly with the restrictions of passengers and airlines from high-impact countries, adding that the association had directed its members to be alert and proactive at this sad period, even as they continue to pray and monitor the spread and development.
He noted that having taken into consideration, the effective consequence of the development, the EXCO and members of the association had directed that its Kano AGM next week will be postponed to a later date.
“It was a hard decision having assured you all two weeks ago that we are good to go. We are bent to be on the side of caution and not panic. We should know what covid-19 is all about since we are at the Centre, the engine room of the travel business which is presently grounded globally,” he said.
He said the association was concerned about its members, their health and future wellbeing during and after when this plague is over. He said the association was pained by the shift of its prime gathering, usually done to hand over reign of administration.
“Next week, in Lagos, the board of Trustees and the EXCO, not excluding some of you, will be here to witness the hand over to a new EXCO which should have been done in Kano, but for covid-19 watch regulations,” Bernard said.