By Ngozi Nwoke
Tourism experts have called on Nigerians to explore the potential of tourism to assist in boosting the economy of private businesses in the industry.
This was position of Mr. Yemi Smith, CEO of Travel Tank Limited, who noted that every travel business needs to establish synergy to achieve collaboration and not depend on government’s input.
Smith, who also disclosed that the tourism industry is greatly untapped, urged the staff to harness and develop sustainable measures that will help promote growth.
He said: “Partnership is definitely key. Every business needs to develop strong partnerships amongst ourselves. Yes, we need the government’s help, but at the same time, we, travel agents, need to look inwards and develop partnerships with each other to allow inbound tourism to scale and flourish. A lot of us are distanced in various regions, so it will take value-laced collaboration to make local tourism truly flourish in the country.
“Within its first year, the company’s business growth has extended exponentially. From five travel sharks to over 20 travel sharks. From less than seven flight bookings in September 2021 to well over 10,000 to date as well as an increase in its affiliate membership base from 20 to over 278 to date.
“It has been an incredible run, and we are thrilled that our customers value our online offerings. Our company views the occasion of our one-year anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on the lessons we have learnt as a whole and to reaffirm our vision for the online travel industry for the coming year and beyond.
“This month, Travel Tank marks its one-year anniversary. The business has built a stellar reputation in just one year of proving Nigerians with a huge selection of travel products and services online.
“Since its launch in 2021, the travel agency has been on a mission to make travel planning and bookings quick, fun and affordable, using technology. The company is contributing to the tourist environment by making travel opportunities accessible to everyone.
“In a bid to further establish its stake and contributions to the Nigerian ecosystem, the company celebrated its 1st anniversary by organizing a webinar series titled, Travel Tank @: revitalizing the post-covid online travel experience.
“As indicative of the company’s anniversary theme, ‘Sailing the horizons,’ we envisioned a world in which travel consumers can quickly research, plan and book their travel using the power of technological innovation while saving time and money. Travel Tank’s universal goal is to ensure that everyone enjoys a seamless travel experience by utilising its cutting-edge tech platforms to spearhead the country’s shift towards sustainable online travel. Today marks a very momentous day for us. There is so much more to come. This is just the beginning.”
Trave Tank’s affiliate manager, also highlighted challenges affecting the tourism industry and prevailing economic growth.
“Throughout Nigeria, we have partnered with some wonderful travel agents. While it has been challenging at times with an uncertain economy, especially due to the pandemic, our focus has always been to provide our affiliates access to a wide range of travel products and services online with impressive rates.
“Branching out from independent flight booking services at the beginning of 2022 to providing other travel supplementary services to its ever-growing clientele, Travel Tank now connects its affiliate members to other value-added travel services thus empowering more and more small business units within the travel industry.”
While speaking on resolving past challenges in the tourist industry, founder and CEO of Expatico, Henry Tugbiyele, stated that the travel industry has to refocus on the home first. He said: “One thing we cannot take away is that humans need to travel. There must be movement. Before the pandemic, local tourism was not in the spotlight and during the pandemic, that part of tourism suffered. There must be provision to get people to appreciate Nigeria as a destination.”
Charles Chukwujekwe, CEO of Travel Quest Limited, buttressed the point, stating: “We cannot make local tourism happen without the serious input of the government. COVID-19 exposed us to a lot of uncertainties and if we focus our attention on local tourism, we would reduce the FX problem we are struggling with today.”