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.
Nigeria set to lose on latest Bilateral Air Service Agreements
Experts have explained why Nigeria is at the losing end of yet another Bilateral Air Space Agreement.
It is no longer news that Nigeria signed Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with the United States, India, Morocco and Rwanda. However, who benefits more from the agreements has been a topical discussion amongst Nigerian stakeholders. Some of them, who spoke with Nairametrics in separate interviews, argued that the development would favour the partner countries more than Nigeria.
They argued that Nigeria has signed this deal with over 80 countries across the world, but has turned out to be disadvantageous to Nigeria. Most of the agreements are only beneficial to the countries and their foreign carriers, without any reciprocal benefits to Nigeria. This is allegedly due to the failure of the Nigerian representatives to put Nigeria’s interest first at the BASA negotiating table.
In most cases, Nigeria does not really benefit from the deal, especially with no National carrier or a domestic airline that has the required equipment to compete with their foreign counterparts.
Managing Director, Starburst Aviation Limited, Capt. David Olubadewo, who was once Nigeria’s youngest pilot, admitted that he has not seen the agreements. However, he told Nairametrics that the nation does not have the capacity/equipment to compete favourably with the countries it signed the deal with.
Capt. Olubadewo said, “In most cases, BASA entails specific agreement between two partners, where parties involved will agree on exchange of flights. It could be 10 flights weekly from Country A and same from the other Country.
“So, if US for instance, has done 10 flights to Nigeria as agreed and Nigeria has not, it will not affect US in anyway.”
In his own case, Muyiwa Lucas, another stakeholder in the industry, claimed that the aim of the international carriers and their countries is to make sure that indigenous carriers do not rise to compete with them on those lucrative routes like Lagos-London, Abuja-London, Lagos-Dubai, Lagos-Paris, Lagos-Amsterdam, and Lagos-Johannesburg.
In an interview with Nairametrics, he said that the partners are always quick to choose a favourable destination in Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja), while they dictate to Nigeria the airport to land its aircrafts in their countries.
Lucas said, “Nigerian flights are only allowed to drop passengers at Gatwick, which handled 46.1 million passengers in 2018. They don’t allow such in Heathrow airport, which is London’s main hub and also one of the world’s busiest airports with 80.1 million passengers in 2018.
“Arik Air was stopped from operating from Abuja to London, unless it paid for slot allocation, which cost a huge amount of money.
“But, while British Airways was and is still flying to Abuja, enjoying grandfather rights; Arik Air was paying for slots and when the Nigerian airline deemed that operation unprofitable, it stopped, leaving only British Airways to be operating to Abuja from London with minimum load factor of 85%.”
Lucas argued that while some of the countries introduced clauses to jeopardise Nigerian airlines operation to their countries, Nigeria rarely retaliated in the spirit of diplomatic principle of reciprocity.
However, Pranjal Pande, an Indian Aviation Expert, sees the development from a different angle.
According to him, Nigeria is home to a substantial Indian expatriate population, and India sees thousands of yearly visitors from Nigeria but noted that the lack of direct flights has meant passengers fly mostly with Middle East carriers.
Pande said, “Popular routes from Delhi and Mumbai to Lagos are over 4,100 nautical miles, putting them out of the range of the current generation of narrowbody aircraft. This means that, from India, only Vistara and Air India, the only airlines with widebodies, could start flights to Nigeria. Neither airline has signalled intentions of doing so soon.
“It’s most likely that Air Peace will be the first to start flights to India. However, the timing remains up in the air due to the current crisis.”
Backstory: On October 6, 2020, Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government announced the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with the United States, India, Morocco and Rwanda.
A copy of the agreement showed that it was signed in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 30, 2020.
I am glad to announce that Mr President, on behalf of Nigeria, has signed the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco as well as Rwanda. 🇳🇬🇳🇬 🇲🇦🇷🇼🇺🇸🇮🇳🇳🇬🇳🇬🤝🤝🤝 pic.twitter.com/UHFx0VbqLW
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) October 6, 2020
The disclosure was made by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, through a tweet on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
What they are saying
The Minister said, “The agreement is the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco, as well as Rwanda.”
He added that Nigeria will take advantage of the agreement to strengthen economic, social and cultural ties with the US.
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Transport fare for motorcycle “Okada” more than doubled in 2020
Data from the NBS reveals the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle more than doubled year on year.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle per drop more than doubled year on year (September 2020 vs 2019 respectively).
This was contained in the recently released data on Transport fare for September 2020 in Nigeria. This covers bus journey within the city per drop, bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person, airfare charge for specified routes single journey, journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop, and waterway passenger transport.
- According to the report, the average fare paid by commuters for the journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 10.47% MOM and by 111.11% YOY to N255.51 in September 2020 from N231.29 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Niger (N1,467.49), Kogi (N362.47), and Rivers (N345.80); while states with the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Adamawa (N76.55), Katsina (N100.84), and Kebbi (N125.60).
- Similarly, the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city increased by 7.92% MOM and by 63.88% YOY to N309.73 in September 2020 from N286.99 in August 2020.
The states with the highest bus journey fare within the city were Zamfara (N579.84), Bauchi (N492.14), and Cross River (N416.32); while states with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Abia (N188.50), Kebbi (N192.48), and Borno (N200.80).
- The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 0.36% MOM and by 24.30% YOY to N2,022.70 in September 2020 from N2,015.50 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest bus journey fare intercity were Abuja FCT (N4,315.22), Lagos (N3,073.25), and Sokoto (N3,000.00); while states with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Kwara (N223.45), Benue (N274.64), and Ondo (N291.07).
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Average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey decreased by -4.59% MOM and increased by 20.60% YOY to N36,884.59 in September 2020 from N38,659.86 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest airfare were Lagos (N39,750.00), Rivers (N39,520.00), and Anambra (N38,950.00); while states with the lowest airfare were Akwa Ibom (N32,500.00), Sokoto (N33,700.00), and Benue (N35,000.00).
- The average fare paid by passengers for waterway passenger transport increased by 7.06% MOM and by 34.13% YOY to N734.26 in September 2020 from N685.82 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest fare by waterway passenger transport were Bayelsa (N2,250.23), Rivers (N2,200.64), and Delta (N2,150.30); while states with the lowest fare by waterway passenger transport were Borno (N200.48), Gombe (N264.29), and Abuja FCT (N294.10).
What this means: According to the NBS, transportation makes up 6.4% of consumption expenditure of millions of naira next only to food at over 50%. Transport is also a key input cost for determining food prices and conducting business in the country contributing to the inflation rate. A combination of bad roads. poor infrastructure, exchange rate devaluation, removal of fuel subsidies, and a general rise in prices of goods and services have impacted transportation costs across the country.
FG to provide support to Aviation investors
FG to provide support and enabling environment for investors in aviation industry.
Federal Government has assured investors in the aviation industry that it is ready to provide support and enabling environment for them.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Friday via the Ministry of Aviation’s Twitter handle.
According to the minister, the Federal Government through the ministry is always ready to provide support and enabling environment to those willing to invest in civil aviation.
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While inspecting aviation facilities at the Caverton Group Helicopters headquarters in Lagos, he said,
“I am here to see the investment they are making in the aviation industry.
“As one of the primary objectives of government, is providing full support to entrepreneurs in order to provide the needed services and employment for our people, and this is exactly what is happening here at @CavertonGroup…. I am willing to continue to support Caverton and other investors in civil aviation.”
The Minister emphasised that the Ministry under his leadership is re-orienting civil aviation bodies who are regulators to shift focus from being police in the industry to being enablers in the industry to create that partnership that will help to develop the industry and provide the services and employment for the people to kickstart the economy and ginger it as well as to add to the GDP of the country.
He added that these investments in Civil Aviation by Caverton Helicopters will certainly create more employment opportunities for the people and provide services that are needed in the country.
He further stated that, before now, the Aviation industry and services were dominated by foreigners, and that for Caverton Helicopters to embark on the massive investments, it is not only bridging the gap but creating a space for Nigeria to participate in.
“I will like to thank the Chairman of Caverton Helicopters for their foresight and decision to participate in the civil aviation industry, they have done so far very well,” the Minister said.
Sirika added that the parcel of land used by Caverton was given to the organisation by FAAN.