The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, NANTA, is championing the promotion of ”Africa to Africa” Tourism campaign in collaboration with some African indigenous airlines, Kenya Airways, Egypt air, Ethiopian Airlines and Rwanda Air.
With the projected 3.4 trillion dollars Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) rated Africa Continental Free Trade Area ( AFCFTA) Initiative, the Association is optimistic that an organised trade and tourism marketing among african nations facilitated by well thought out aviation connectivity, African union passport and synchronized visa regime, among nations under the AFCFTA deal, could change the economic narratives of the estimated 1.3 million population of African nations.
Expressing this optimism during visits to four African airlines in Lagos to explain the thrust of the campaign, NANTA’s President, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye said, the advent of the African union passport by Africa Union (AU), and NANTA driving the tourism and Culture content initiative in collaboration with the airlines, would enhance and lubricate the promotion and marketing of african tourism economy, creating jobs in the process and engendering peace and integration.
Concerned that the trade pact has potentials of lifting out the vulnerable poor, particularly african women who bestrides about 70% the informal sectors in Africa out of poverty, Akporiaye stated that, AFCFTA presents a refreshing assessment of the tourism and aviation collaborations with african airlines at the forefront to exploit and boost intra African trade, create travel and tourism jobs and improve competitiveness of the unique african culture, indigenous crafts and tourism to the global community.
Country Manager, Kenya Airways, Hafis Balogun, who received NANTA President and her delegation, praised the NANTA Africa to Africa Tourism Promotion campaign, noting that Kenya Airways, will partner with the association to give a different holiday experience to Nigerians and africans interested to visit Kenya.
He said,” We have taken note of the desire to rebrand and drive the Kenya Holidays with safari,beach shopping tourism products enabled agenda, and with your deserving collaboration, Kenya tourism would rebound fast”.
At the Ethiopian Airlines office, Mrs Susan Akporiaye reiterated the need for intra African tourism rebirth and challenged the management to facilitate the promotion of Ethiopian religious tourism and its agricultural offerings.
Elated at the NANTA Africa Tourism Promotion campaign, the General Manager, Nigeria of the biggest airline in Africa, Mr. Shimeles Arage noted that the Ethiopian national carrier, had been in the forefront of african connectivity and integration, “We shall collaborate with nanta on this laudable campaign and would do the needful in truely letting africans and Nigerians know more about Ethiopia tourism which I must admit, we have not given the true focal attention.'”
Addressing Rwanda Air management, Mrs Susan Akporiaye stressed that Rwanda Air had shown capacity and discipline since bestriding the african aviation space, hence the need to be part of the nanta driven african tourism promotion agenda, particularly in showcasing its famed tourism infrastructural renewals and agricultural offerings.
Country manager, Rwanda Air, Muhamud Wayiga said, “am glad to receive you and your team today in Rwanda Air and in due course, I will visit your office which I understand is representative of your progressive impact.But we at Rwanda Air will like to know more about Nigeria, we want other people, our passengers to come to Nigeria and enjoy its hospitality, not just about promoting Rwanda alone, that is why am happy about this nanta initiative”.
At the Egypt air office, Mrs.Susan Akporiaye, said Egypt air had the history and capacity to be at the forefront of nanta driven africa to Africa tourism and aviation collaboration.
” We at NANTA is convinced that if Egypt air partners with us and put its strength in the pact, the people of the continent would be better for it”.
General Manager, EgyptAir, Mr Muharram Abdel Rahman, noted that egypt is the oldest country in africa nay the world, is determined to put its strength and experience behind the nanta Africa Tourism Promotion campaign.
“First, let me congratulate you and your team for the good work you have done so far despite the impact of covid 19 pandemic. We at Egypt air salute your courage and for coming up with this initiative, we cannot but commend you for your foresight and open doors to deepen the african tourism economy” he enthused.
Mr Rahman explained that Egypt air can collaborate in areas of training, medical tourism, logistics and security and safety.
” We must admit that our visa regime is a bit confusing to Nigerians but we now have visa on arrival but the group tour regime is also difficult to sell in Nigeria unlike what is obtainable in Europe and America, where tourists, come to Egypt in groups and have seamless visits. Nigerians don’t like to travel in groups and so we wish to encourage group visits and we can support with visa procurement, thereby helping to facilitate visit Egypt holidays” Mr Rahman explained further.
To show instant commitment to the NANTA Africa Tourism Promotion campaign, Mr Rahman noted that a meeting with Egyptian ambassador and Egypt holiday outfit, would be facilitated by the management of the airline as top priority.
Highpoint of the collaborative outreach is the setting up of a Committee by nanta and the collaborating airlinesto further enrich the vision and address possible cobwebs.