The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged air travel agents in Nigeria to abide by local regulations guiding the practice of the profession. Pundits in the air travel business in the country had cautioned lately that IATA should respect local laws guiding the air travel business in the country without interference into commercial activities. Needless to note, travel agents interface between airlines and the travelling public, offering important services including flight bookings, hotel reservations, tour packages, among others, to the travelling public.
IATA says its new accreditation models are making it easier for local Nigerian travel agents to become IATA-accredited members. It however stresses that “to become accredited in any country, including Nigeria, one must comply with local licensing and registration requirements to sell travel.”
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the apex civil aviation regulatory body in Nigeria. Licensing and regulation of travel agents is one of the responsibilities of the Authority.
At the 2019 first quarterly breakfast meeting organised recently by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), a forum that seeks solutions to pressing industry problems in the air transport sector in Nigeria, experts agreed that “all travel agents in Nigeria should make deliberate efforts to register with the NCAA to attract favourable regulatory benefits and protection from external exploitation.”
The experts also agreed that the NCAA should go beyond licensing of travel agents and take imperative steps to address the challenges that have in recent years caused a decline in air bookings and performance of travel agencies in the country. Attention was also drawn to training of professionals in the travel agency business.