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London’s Economic Ticket Affected By Naira’s Devaluation

The Chief Executive Officer of Shenbee Travels Limited, Wole Shenbanjo, in this interview, spoke about emerging issues in Nigeria’s economy, and events in the travel and tourism industry. Excerpts:

How has the devaluation of the Naira affected international air travel?

It has affected travel a great deal. Ticket fares have increased astronomically. You have economy tickets to London costing as high as N1 million. Not to include the cost of Covid-19 tests here and there especially the ones you have to pay for abroad. It has really affected holiday travels this period. I know quite a number of families who have had to postpone, cancel or reschedule their holidays due to cost constraints.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of COVID-19 on air travel?

Before talking long-term impact, we have already started to experience the impact and more importantly the recovery. Initially, we had everything come to a standstill with nations shutting their borders and all of that. A lot of countries that know what they are doing and understand the importance of travels have started to experience what we call the Post Covid-19 recovery.

In the long term, I believe we will experience safer travels. Most countries would not go back on the health and safety measure put in place as a result of Covid-19. As more people get vaccinated, we will see a pick up in travels across the globe. In another two years, we hope to be back to our Pre-Covid-19 numbers.

Would you say that the shrinking of international holiday destinations has made travel agents innovative and in what way?

Absolutely. It has caused us to be more innovative. We have had to research and explore more destinations to offer our clients. Personally, I have had cause to visit two new destinations this year to experience firsthand and be able to offer more options to our clients. So, we will continue to see more of that. We now have to look inwards into Africa and other safer destinations that are open to receiving tourists.

It has made a lot of us go all out in exploring and pushing our domestic tourism, which I strongly believe will thrive as we look to better days ahead.

With selective lockdown of many places in Europe and Americas, do you foresee a boost in African tourism?

Most definitely. Just this August, I went on holiday with my family to Ghana. You can imagine, as exposed and well traveled as we are, we had never visited Ghana, which is literally next door. It was a beautiful experience seeing lovely resorts and all that. We have had a lot of people reach out to us to help package similar tours. I am sure a lot of the top agencies and tour operators would be getting similar requests and experiences. People are now more interested in seeing Africa. Agencies and tour operators are beginning to showcase more of Africa; it will really be a great boost for African tourism if we are able to sustain it.

Would you say that the shrinking of international holiday destinations has made travel agents innovative and in what way?

Absolutely. It has caused us to be more innovative. We have had to research and explore more destinations to offer our clients. Personally, I have had cause to visit two new destinations this year to experience firsthand and be able to offer more options to our clients. So, we will continue to see more of that. We now have to look inwards into Africa and other safer destinations that are open to receiving tourists.

It has made a lot of us go all out in exploring and pushing our domestic tourism, which I strongly believe will thrive as we look to better days ahead.

With selective lockdown of many places in Europe and Americas, do you foresee a boost in African tourism?

Most definitely. Just this August, I went on holiday with my family to Ghana. You can imagine, as exposed and well traveled as we are, we had never visited Ghana, which is literally next door. It was a beautiful experience seeing lovely resorts and all that. We have had a lot of people reach out to us to help package similar tours. I am sure a lot of the top agencies and tour operators would be getting similar requests and experiences. People are now more interested in seeing Africa. Agencies and tour operators are beginning to showcase more of Africa; it will really be a great boost for African tourism if we are able to sustain it.

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