The projected 3.4 trillion dollars Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) rated Africa Continental Free Trade Area ( AFCFTA) initiative, is to gain a muscled buy- in by the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), which will be facilitated through aviation collaborations with four major African indigenous airlines, Kenya Airways, Egypt air, Ethiopian Airlines and Rwanda Air.
With expected liberalized free trade and duty free enabled goods and services regime across african borders despite challenges of covid 19 pandemic and teething problems, nanta believes 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.
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, Nanta President, Mrs Susan Akporiaye says 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.
Mrs Akporiaye, unvieling nanta “Africa to Africa Tourism Promotion campaign” to the management of the four major African airlines at different meetings in lagos, Tuesday and Wednesday, stated that with the advent the African union passport by Africa Union (AU), and nanta driving the tourism and Culture content initiative in collaboration with the airlines, will enhance and lubricate the promotion and marketing of african tourism economy, creating jobs in the process and engendering peace and integration.
Speaking during the visit to Kenya Airways management, nanta president called for a detailed and focal attention on Kenya tourism within the AFCFTA agenda and with nanta members, pushing the frontiers of its marketing and promotion.
She believes Kenya Airways can be a veritable partner, in the nanta driven vision to create jobs across and within Africa region through intra continental tourism initiatives.
Hafis Balogun, Country Manager, Kenya Airways 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.
Mr Balogun who conducted the nanta team round the office of Kenya Holidays, noted that the office, in response to the dreams and demand for holiday visits to Kenya, will in due course, roll out specific tourism products and to which nanta will be the driving force.
” 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 victoria island Office of Ethiopian Airlines, 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, has been in the forefront of african connectivity and integration, stating that the airline hauled across the world and africa, the covid 19 pandemic medical response equipment and other cargos which helped african businesses in particular, to remain afloat at the height of the pandemic.
” 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.'” Mr Arage added , informing that Nigerians would be amazed at the religious tourism offerings of northern Ethiopia which harbours the the ark of the covenant and other relics and highpoints of early christianity, not excluding the destinct aromatic ethiopian Coffee brand.
“We are with you on this amazing Africa to Africa tourism initiative” Mr Arage assured nanta President and her team which comprised of the lagos zonal vice President, Yinka Folami, national auditor, Yinka olapade and executive secretary, slyvester olobor.
Addressing Rwanda Air management, Mrs Susan Akporiaye stressed that Rwanda Air has 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 praised nanta for being in the forefront of the AFCFTA tourism buy-in, requesting the association to furnish him with Nigerian tourism products and destinations to enable the airline market Nigeria not only in Rwanda but in others countries where the airline has established presence.
” 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. Mr Wayiga stressed
Received in audience at the Egypt air by the management team led by General Manager, Mr Muharram Abdel Rahman, Financial Controller, Ayman Mohamed Hassan and Ahmed Rasaq, chief accountant, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, said Egypt air has 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” nanta president explained.
Responding, 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, will 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 airlines
to further enrich the vision and address possible cobwebs.