ON passion for travel My travel agency was opened in 2006 and from 2006 we grew from having staff strength of about five to about 80 and from one location to about eight locations.” By all standards, those are great strides for an agency, which is just 10 years. This achievement appeared not driven only by our professionalism and value that we brought to our operation but also by our belief that with volume in sales of tickets and many outlets, one is certain to maximise the accruing benefits of the industry. We started off as a travel agency and I realised that I have a whole lot to learn so I was travelling out to acquire experience from all the travel exhibitions across the world. I was constantly visiting the World Travel Market (WTM), I visited Arabian Travel Market (ATM), ITB Berlin and another one in France.
On his travels: Unfortunately for me, I don’t usually have much leisure during my trips out of Nigeria, because most of my travels are business oriented and always targeted towards particular goal. In doing that I have visited many countries but there is one country that always stand out among the rest and that is Dubai.
On Dubai as a destination Why I admire Dubai is because they have taken their time to focus so much on business development, ensuring that major conferences, exhibitions hold in their country to attract people around the world. At the beginning, I didn’t really understand, but I think by the position of their location in the Middle East , it is like being in the world. So people converged in Dubai and they also have created an enabling environment that is suitable for such conferences and exhibition. They have world class hotels, eateries that are business oriented.
Business travel Dubai for me is number one choice when it comes to business travel, because the necessary things a business person needs you will find it there.
On what he takes along on his travel: I do exercise in my hotel, work with my laptop because without my laptop I feel like I am lost. Any time, I am going for business trip, I don’t really go with many things, just few cloths to change, and most of my business trips are usually short, three to four days. On what he looks out for in a hotel: Location, review of previous people that have used the hotel, the brand name, the security of the hotel and amenities in the rooms, clean beddings, beautiful toilet, working table that is close to the TV, a room that has very good view of either the city or where it is located.
On his best hotel: My best hotel is still Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai, I like the location, the peaceful atmosphere and the people at the hotel and how they take care of their guests. On his best airline: Emirate is my best airline, I flew it to Dubai and Los Angeles on several occasion. You don’t feel it when it is taking off and also during landing.
On his next destination: Of recent I have been thinking of where I can go, but I think I will rather go to Singapore, because it is a peaceful and lovely atmosphere with no stress.
On best destination choice in Nigeria In Nigeria, Lagos is the only place I feel comfortable. I go to Abuja a lot for business and other commitment, I haven’t had the opportunity of going round the country presently, but I did that when I was younger.
On the fastest route to growing the Nigerian hospitality industry I would recommend a revamping of the aviation sector to provide the necessary perception and easy gateway for tourism. Without a sound aviation industry, the tourism section cannot grow or live up to expectations.
On top four quick fixes for the travel & tourism industry to grow beyond its current state Government endorsement of policies that favor the industry in terms of forex request from CBN; Aviation fuel supply to ease operations within the industry; improved infrastructure at airport terminals and privatization of the aviation industry
On NANTA’s contributions to the hospitality industry and main request destinations NANTA’s position has been on serious advocacy to draw the government’s attention to the aviation industry and help look into the dwelling fortune that would contribute to the GDP of the country. The role of the association is that of a serious pressure group, ensuring that the government listens to the yearning of the people and policies that favor the industry for the desired growth are endorsed. An example of such policies is the Aviation Intervention Fund to stabilize and assist domestic carriers to increase their competitiveness in the industry. Some of the popular request destinations include: Calabar, Badagry, Dubai, Zanzibar, Kenya, South Africa.