August 26, (THEWILL) – Janefrances Chibuzor encounters the principal officer of a Dubai Destination Management Company, Flyzone, which provides bespoke solutions to challenges experienced by Nigerian travel agencies.
For a period of five years, leading Dubai Destination Management Company in Nigeria, Flyzone, has successfully processed thousands of Dubai visas for over 4,000 travel agencies. Previously, these agencies experienced a lot of hardship in procuring Dubai visa in Nigeria.
This was disclosed in a recent meeting with this reporter by Principal Executive of Flyzone Tourism, Awomoyi Ayodeji.
Ayodeji, explained that Flyzone offers services that bridge the space between Nigeria travel companies and Dubai.
Buttressing this claim, Ayodeji further described the high quality of services rendered by Flyzone, while emphasising the company’s total package of positive experiences, which cuts across related travel and tourism businesses. According to him, “Its like having Dubai at your back door.”
Flyzone services include tour packages, hotel reservations, procurement of visas to travel agencies on a business-to-business basis. He noted, “packages like these have addressed issues of delivery, which in turn make our clients happy.”
Continuing, Ayodeji said, “Dubai has evolved over the years to become one of the world’s most prestigious and popular tourists attractions, enticing visitors from different sectors to its shores to experience what the ‘must visit’ destination has to offer.
“According to research, over 11.95 million people travelled from across the globe to the Emirate in 2014, up from 11.12 million in 2013 invariably, demonstrating that the appeal of Dubai as a tourist destination has grown further.
“As a place famous for superlatives, such as the world’s biggest skyscraper and largest mall, it’s unsurprising that people flock to its shores to set their eyes on its great feats and achievements. Some of the new attractions include Ain Dubai, Madame Tussauds Dubai, and Museum of the Futurend some of the hotels took their time off to refurbish and new hotels opened.”
They also have attractions such as world class shopping malls; variety of hotels: lots of tourist sites and western lifestyle mixed with local culture.
He recalled, “in 2019 Nigeria was one of our top performing source markets with a year-on-year increase of 33% in visitor numbers, supported by the increase in seat capacity from Emirates Airline between Dubai and Nigeria in the summer.”
Explaining further, ‘Its important to note that the travel and tourism do not only include leisure travellers looking for holiday destinations. It also involves those who visit various destinations for various purposes, including business and investment, professional meetings and conferences, social events, family and friend visits, and so on.
Ayodeji said supporting travel agencies in Africa is a major concern for Flyzone. He also stated, ‘Nigeria has so much to offer, “once insecurity is dealt with. Ninety percent of our partners are in Nigeria.’
Procedure for United Arab Emirates (UAE) visa was hitherto simple for Nigerians visiting the country until some unfortunate events that led to violence, which resulted to visa restriction to certain persons aspiring to stay in Dubai. “There are so many Nigerians living legally and doing good business in UAE. And there are so many requirements now from bank statements to hotel reservations, others.
Also, according to him, the business is still contending with the issue of fraudulent agents, as there are many of them in every sector.
However, it would be recalled that on October 28, 2020, Nigeria Guardian Newspapers published an article on how the National Association Travel Agencies (NANTA), Lagos Zone set up a committee on Policy and Standards to review existing measures and proffer ways forward to check forgery.
Also, our reporter recalled that the problem of fake travel agents and touting at the Lagos airport are not new. The guiding Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Act, forbids agents and agencies that are not recognised by NANTA from practicing in the industry.
In this regard, NANTA in 2018, rolled out the Nigeria Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC), as a common means of identification for all genuine travel agents. However, enforcement of the rules against unregistered operators has been a problem.
To deal with same also there was a publication on THISDAY, prior to World Tourism Day, 2021, in which the International Air Transport Association (IATA), warned Nigerian travel agents to stop issuing flight tickets to persons who buy them to use and purchase Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) and later cancel their flights after they have obtained foreign exchange from the banks.
In doing this, the leadership of NANTA has continued to ensure that all credible travel agencies register with it for the purpose of making them comply with rules and regulations guiding business of travel agency, in line with the rules of the Federal Government as spelt out by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the NANTA leadership, many bad eggs, who have refused to be registered, are the ones engaging in criminal activities like the issuance of fraudulent BTA to their co-conspirators.
Part of the challenges observed by Ayodeji include the tendency by Nigerians to get a 30-day or 90-day visa tend to insist on spending more days than they are allowed. While, advising the travel agencies to build trust among their clients, he added Nigerian travel agents have been known to scam one another. Ayodeji said he has been in the aviation industry since 2019.