Written by Felix Onajite
Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking services provider, has partnered with the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) to launch the Nigeria Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC).
Head of corporate communications of Heritage Bank, Mr. Fela Ibidapo said the bank partnered with the travel agencies in a bid to help to sensitize and sanitise the industry.
He said in an industry with unconfirmed member list of about 60,000, they felt they could help to create a platform that would enable them to provide better services to their clients in a bid to separate the genuine agents from the fraudulent ones.
Ibidapo said the initiative would help the bank to put in place services that could help the genuine operators and the economy in the long run.
Also speaking, the President of NANTA, Mr. Bernard Bankole said the idea of the identification card was birthed by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other stakeholders in the industry because of the need to sanitise and decontaminate the downstream sector of the industry.
He said the initiative has become imperative because the travel business in Nigeria has become one for all and sundry with absolute disregard for professionalism, adding that the global nature of the business has been adulterated by fraudulent people who have little or no regard for the business.
The president said the development has become worrisome with the level of default to the airlines as well as passengers losing their hard-earned money to the duplicitous travel agents.
Bankole noted that this appalling act has continued for several years, undermining the professionalism of serious minded consultants within the industry, thereby threatening the existence of a business whose primary focus is to distribute inventories on behalf of the principals, who are the airlines.
The president noted that worried by this development, the executive council of NANTA, the umbrella body responsible for all travel agencies in the country, decided to find a lasting solution to the industry which contributed about N504 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.
“We are of the strong belief that NTPIC will help to identify all the practitioners in the industry and put a check on them by ensuring that there is as proper database of all the agents in the industry as well as keeping statistical data that will the government to plan for the industry,” Bankole said.