‘Travel agencies’ consolidation can generate over $2b’

The Chief Executive Officer of Travel Investment Company Limited (TICO), Mrs Irene Uti-Egbeogu, has said the merger of travel agencies could contribute over $2 billion annually.

She said without consolidation, the market share would be small for travel agencies who need to explore wider segments and product initiatives to enhance profitability

In an interview, she said the coming together of four travel agencies: Touchdown, Quantum, Finchglow and Dees Travels in TICO has triggered a revolution in the travel agency sector, with economies of scale for the partners .

She said the firm was favourably disposed to discussions on partnership with travel management companies to expand the business.

Mrs Uti-Egbeogu said:”Indeed, we are open to more travel management companies interested in partnering with us in our quest for best practices. Interests within our scope include training and networking opportunities.

‘’We like to believe that travel agencies that have indicated interest in joining us are equally motivated by the same passion that informed this consortium, which is the overall advancement of the Industry.”

She said the government should assist by providing infrastructure to facilitate travel business at airports nationwide.

“The government can aid the industry’s growth by providing better infrastructure – good roads, power and truncating the red tape in getting through regulatory bodies.

“This would be with a view to making Nigeria a prime destination for travellers and tourists; even beyond recreating Nigeria as a tourist attraction to the international business community, we need to build an enabling environment for investors in the hospitality business.

“It takes funds to build hotels and refurbish or repackage tourist centres and facilitate electronic platforms that enable smooth logistics or accessible hospitality. The prospects in the industry is huge, the reason is that Nigeria has a unique history and character that somehow seems to defy the norm. Even during the economic downturn, people were still travelling as high traffic in travel transactions were recorded.”

Mrs Uti-Egbeogu went on:“With better standards of operations and customer service, we can indeed defy any circumstance of “shrinking resources” as you put it.”

Mrs Egbeogu said consolidation has advanced the travel agency business with higher profitability and more visibility.

Her words:“We have recorded some milestones, particularly in areas where we have explored wider segments and product initiatives which our partners can tap into for more visibility and higher profitability.

“Industry trend reports reveal that the travel market generates close to $2 billion annually. Clearly, you can see that even at N36 billion, which is about $200 million, this is just scraping the surface.

“While we are making progress in leaps and bounds, we are identifying new areas to make a foray into and widen our market share.”

Mrs. Mrs Egbeogu said the travel agencies that came together still retained their individual identities to enhance efficiency.

“ They purely see themselves as partners. There is a common goal here, which is to enhance the efficiency of the Nigerian travel industry.

‘’This cannot be achieved by a singular body or agency but by cohesive action by a league of extraordinary travel agencies with that single vision to transform industry’s standards of operations and customer service.”

She said the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) would continue to strive to ensure that it harmonises the needs of travel agencies before airlines and government agencies to comply with local and international regulations and standards .

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By 9jatravel / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Jan 09, 2016

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