One of Nigeria’s largest online travel companies, Wakanow, announced the appointment of Mr. Adebayo Adedeji as its interim Chief Executive Officer. The appointment is with immediate effect. Before now, Adedeji was the Chief Commercial Officer of the company.
Official Statement: According to the company, Mr. Adedeji is “assuming his new responsibilities at a time of great excitement for the company which is on the cusp of transition and significant positive change. The Board of Wakanow is confident that Mr. Adedeji will provide an invaluable contribution to setting goals and objectives for the company’s future growth, whilst also providing the administrative guidance and direction required during this period of significant transition and transformation.”
End of an era: The appointment of Mr. Adedeji as interim CEO of Wakanow marks the end of an era for the company after being led by its founder Obinna Ekezie (its founder) since 2008. Ekezie invested millions of dollars in aggressive marketing scaling the company’s operations exponentially. He also introduced a large scale retail participation in the business offering huge discounts to travelers as well as credits. At some point, the company was making over $55 million in sales and was said to own about 10% of the market share. The company also explored listing on the NASDAQ as its operations grew bigger amidst financial constraints and shareholder impatience.
Scoop: Sources within the industry who prefer to be anonymous inform Nairametrics that the exit of Ekezie was rather dramatic and involved security operatives. Reports suggest he may have had a feisty relationship with Mr. Adedeji who at some point during the year left the company. His return, we understand is at the behest of the shareholders who have been frustrated with the progress of the company’s turnaround strategy under Ekezie.
Back Story: In January 2018 Nairametrics exclusively reported that Wakanow was facing a financial crisis with IATA threatening to yank Wakanow off their BSP program over unpaid settlements. However, in December 2018, the company announced it had received a $40 million investment from Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager.
About the new CEO: The company reports that Mr. Adedeji, who is the current Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of the company, has been responsible for driving the transition program of Wakanow since mid-2019. Prior to taking up his CCO role at Wakanow, he was a Senior Finance Manager at Amazon.com, in charge of fulfillment supporting product teams in 16 countries.
He was also responsible for driving topline, profitability, inventory optimization, seller promotion and improved customer experience through technical product innovation. Previously, he served as a senior finance professional in the consumer retails sector, including with Petsmart and Walmart Stores.
Wakanow has been able to grow its customer base and market share since the end of last calendar year as it continues to service its customers and maintain its best value proposition with improved product offering & customer service.
GTBank declares closed period as directors meet July 22nd to consider H1 result
GTBank reported a net interest income of N64.28 billion in Q1 2020 as against N53.58 billion in Q1 2019.
Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) has declared a closed period ahead of the release of its audited half-year 2020 financial statements.
A corporate disclosure that was signed by the Company Secretary (Erhi Obebeduo) and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange said the closed period commenced on July 3rd, 2020. In line with the listing rules of the NSE, the closed period is expected to last until twenty-four hours after the bank’s financial statements have been released to the public.
Note that the implication of the closed period is that all persons with insider knowledge of the company’s affairs are hereby prohibited from trading the company’s stock.
Meanwhile, members of GTBank’s board of directors are scheduled to meet on July 22nd to consider the audited HI 2020 financial statements. A separate notice that was sent to the NSE said:
“Pursuant to the post-listing requirements of the Nigerian Stock Exchange for quoted companies, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc hereby informs you that the board of directors of our bank is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, to consider the audited financial statement for the half-year ended June 30, 2020. Issues relating to half-year dividend may also be discussed at the meeting.”
The audited financial statements for half-year 2020 shall be sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria for approval prior to being made public through the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Recall that GTBank reported a net interest income of N64.28 billion in Q1 2020 as against N53.58 billion in Q1 2019. In the same vein, the tier-1 bank’s profit before tax grew by 2.1% to N58.2 billion, up from N57 billion in Q1 2019. Profit after tax also grew from N49.3 billion in Q1 2019 to N50 billion in Q1 2020.
GTBank closed last week’s trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a share price of N20.80, according to trading reports seen by Nairametrics. Year to date, the stock has lost by more than -19%.
COVID-19: WHO stops hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs trial after failure
The WHO boss had earlier warned that the worst is yet to come from the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it was going to abandon its trials of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine and combination of HIV drug, lopinavir/ritonavir on hospitalized patients that have coronavirus disease after they failed to reduce the death rate.
This is a major setback for the WHO in the face of a second wave of the virus outbreak in US, China, Asia and some American countries. The United Nations (UN) health agency reported over 200,000 new cases of the disease globally, the first time in a single day.
According to a statement from the WHO, ‘’These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.’’
The WHO has hinged its decision on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee and does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for non-hospitalized patients.
Another aspect of the WHO-led trial is looking at the potential effect of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir on COVID-19. The European Commission gave remdesivir a conditional approval for use on Friday after it was discovered that it helps reduce hospital recovery times.
The trial which is led by WHO started with five branches looking at possible treatment approaches to coronavirus. They include, standard care, remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
The WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, disclosed on Friday that almost 5,500 patients in 39 countries had been recruited into its clinical trials and that interim results were expected in the next two weeks.
There are about 18 experimental COVID-19 vaccines that are being tested on humans with almost 150 treatments under development.
A top emergency expert from WHO, Mike Ryan, said it would not be wise to predict when a vaccine could be ready because while a vaccine candidate might show its effectiveness by the end of the year, the challenge might be how soon it could be mass-produced.
The WHO boss had a few days ago warned that the worst is yet to come from the coronavirus pandemic due to lack of global solidarity and the susceptibility of most people to the virus, which still has a lot of room to move. He stated that contact tracing of people that are infected with the virus is the most important step in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The UN health agency had also revealed its plans with its partners to buy 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the most vulnerable people across the globe. The plan projects that the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to countries with special priority on high-risk persons like people above 65 years, health care personnel and other adults with ailments like diabetes.
Top 10 travel agencies in Nigeria
Whatever the case, everyone needs a travel agency or at least knows someone that does.
Have you ever gone through the rigours of applying for a visa in Nigeria, only to get rejected in the end? Or maybe you had to make a trip and spent hours online trying to book reservations in a good hotel, then ended up getting there and discovering that your reservation didn’t go through.
Perhaps, you have been defrauded by poser travel agents, in your quest to travel abroad. Or maybe the reason you have not planned for a much-desired vacation is because you don’t have the time to attend to all the details.
Whatever the case, everyone needs a travel agency or at least knows someone that does. Even when you know how to get these things done, it cannot compare to having a professional touch. Little things like having someone welcome you at the airport, and ensuring you get checked in at your hotel, can really matter.
And that is why it is necessary to know some reliable travel agencies off the top of your head. In this article, Nairametrics brings you a list of top travel agencies in Nigeria that can take care of your travel needs and attend to all the details.
Owing to the relationships these agencies have built over the years, they can get you incredibly lower airfares, hotel rates and other expenses, much more than you could get on your own. They also ensure that even if you are arriving in a country you have never been, you don’t get stranded.
Nairametrics does not have affiliations with any of these agencies, but the list was drawn from the hundreds of travel agencies in Nigeria, selecting only the top ones which meet the criteria. All of the agencies listed here are registered with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Corporate Affairs Commission, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, and have built some reputation for themselves over the years.
Each has also cornered a fair size of the Nigerian market share.
Touchdowns Travels Limited
Touchdown Travels Limited is the representative of GlobalStar in Nigeria. Though licensed by IATA since 1993, it only started representing GlobalStar in 2012.
The agency offers services in flight bookings and reservations, as well as in organising tours and travel itineraries.
The agency was established by Mr. Dayo Adeola, who is also its CEO/Managing Director. It is also a member of the National Association of Nigeria Travels Agencies (NANTA), and from having just 2 staff, it has grown to accommodate about 50 staff, firmly etching its name among the top agencies in the industry.
Touchdown is about the top agency in terms of market share and has earned several recognitions from most operating airlines in the country, as well as organisations in the industry.
Headquartered in Lagos, the agency has travel desks (out-posts) manned by its staff, and situated within some bluechip companies. It also has a branch in Abuja.
Quantum Travels also ranks among top travel agencies in the country, and is Nigeria’s representative of BCD Travel, the third largest travel management company in the world.
Its global presence gives the agency the advantage of meeting clients’ travel needs across 97 countries.
It is mostly known for corporate travel management, but its services extend to others such as passport and visa arrangements, flight and hotel reservations, as well as providing rentals for transportation.
This agency also has a fair size of the Nigerian market share, ranking among the top five highest in terms of monthly ticket bookings.
Wakanow was launched as the first online travel agency in 2008. Its founder, Obinna Ekezie, a former professional basketball player, led the company till 2019 when Adebayo Adedeji was appointed CEO.
With IATA code 59-211806, and NANTA code ZTN/NANTA/LOS/08-821, the company did not waste time in capturing a significant market share, and at some point, was reported to own about 10% of the market share. Currently, it has the third highest flight bookings in the country.
The agency offers travel consulting, hotel reservations, bespoke travel packages, flight booking, visa assistance, travel financing, etc. The company also offers credit facilities with flexible travel payment plans, where the customer can pay 25% upfront, and structure the rest of the payments.
The regular discounts and reward packages have also contributed to attracting more customers to the company. Recently, a little reward package was introduced, where customers are rewarded for referring new customers to the company.
The agency recently introduced a new video selling product, where clients can schedule a visual tour of their potential destination with a Wakanow agent.
To encourage travels after the pandemic, the company has introduced more deferred payment options called “Travel now, pay later”.
FlinchGlow Travels was founded in 2002 by Mr. Bankole Bernard, the current NANTA president who still runs the agency as CEO.
As a partner with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), FlinchGlow offers some of the best services in the tourism industry, although it also serves clients with personal and business travel needs.
FlinchGlow also takes pride in its ability to secure good hotel rates at choice destinations, and plan tours for its clients. It ranks among the top five in terms of market share and sells a considerable volume of tickets monthly.
Dees Travels and Tours Limited
Dees Travels and Tour Limited was founded in 2000 and registered with IATA in the same year. Apart from booking both local and international flights, it handles travel arrangements for individual and group tours, visa procurement, travel insurance, hotel reservations across countries, chauffeur/car hire, and airport protocol services.
According to data from airline operators, the agency is 5th highest in terms of market share and tickets sold on a monthly base.
Business Travel Management Limited
This agency is a member of the GHI Assets Ltd group, and has several names under it including Emirates holidays, Sky logistics ltd, Rwandair and HRG Nigeria. It was incorporated in 1998 and it was also accredited by IATA. It specializes in comprehensive travel management, logistics for business, corporate service and corporate travel management.
The agency is IATA certified, and registered with other regulatory agencies. With the names under the group, BTM Limited has claimed its own share of the Nigerian travel market as well.
Travelstart another leading online travel agency with operations spread across Africa, and headquartered in Cape Town.
Customers can utilise the online platform to book flights across all African countries and other continents as well, and also get their itinerary all planned for a vacation or business trip. Apart from flight reservations, the agency also handles car rentals and hotel reservations tailored to the traveller’s budget.
Travelstart also handles visa processing and travel insurance. It was founded in Sweden by Stephan Ekbergh, but has since extended operations to Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and even Turkey, where it trades under the brand name Geziko.
Travelstart has also captured its share of the Nigerian market, leveraging on its international network and brand recognition across the continent.
Rewards Travels and Tours Limited
Rewards Travels and Tours has over the last two decades earned its space in the industry. Its services include travel consultancy, travel itinerary management, tourism and planning corporate travels.
It was founded in 1999, and now has a network of branches across major cities in Nigeria, with established partners in the global tourism industry. the agency gives hotel booking services, car hires, cruises and charters across several countries.
It is IATA accredited, giving clients access to international and local airlines.
City Travels and Tours
City Travels and Tours is one of the travel agencies you want to consider if the purpose of your travel is largely tourism. The company offers tourism services, reservations and bookings, vacations, cruises, consultation, destination and accommodation decisions.
The agency is registered with IATA, as well as NANTA, and has a commendable network with critical stakeholders in the tourism industry across the continent. City Travels and Tours is often ranked among the top 10 among over 1500 registered travel agencies in the country.