Nigeria lacks policies to drive aviation, tourism development

Nigeria lacks policies to drive aviation, tourism development

Bernard Bankole is the president of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), the downstream sector of the aviation sector. Bankole, in this interview with WOLE OYEBADE, takes a closer look at the air travel business and tourism, highlighting its challenges, potential and the way forward among other issues. Excerpts:

What is your take on the performance of the industry in 2018?
It was a good feeling when we realised that we were out of recession in 2018.

National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies
Bernard Bankole is the president of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), the downstream sector of the aviation sector. Bankole, in this interview with WOLE OYEBADE, takes a closer look at the air travel business and tourism, highlighting its challenges, potential and the way forward among other issues. Excerpts:

What is your take on the performance of the industry in 2018?
It was a good feeling when we realised that we were out of recession in 2018.

We were expecting better gains based on the factor that we had pulled out of recession, so that we can count the gains in the aviation industry.

But to my dismay, I can say that there is really no tangible gain as it were. I can say categorically that the aviation world has left Nigeria behind.

When you look at the gains that have been made in other countries around the world, and Africa in particular, it is huge and the world will not wait for Nigeria.

This should be a wakeup call for us to start seeing how we can develop the most sensitive industry in the Nigerian economy.

You will all agree with me that aviation is not an industry that should be neglected in anyway or any manner.

I think, to a very large extent that was why the Federal Government gave it a special portfolio under the ministry of transportation, and a minister was attached to it. But be that as it may, we haven’t seen much growth as expected in the industry to the point that even the downstream sector is feeling the impact.

What do you say of government’s policy to drive the aviation growth?
We haven’t seen any policy that enhances the growth of the industry.

In terms of infrastructure, it was just of recent that the Port Harcourt and Abuja airports’ new terminals were opened. But when we talk about infrastructure, it goes beyond new terminal.

As we speak, the runway in Enugu is so bad that it is a disaster waiting to happen.

Flights cannot go to Owerri conveniently, because the airport would have been shut before they get there. Once it is past 5pm the airport is shut.





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