The ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused slump in international air traffic to Nigeria with foreign carriers cutting flights by 20 per cent.
President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents, (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard, said the effect of the Coronavirus virus especially to travel cannot be quantified.
He stated this in Lagos while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming NANTA elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) taking place in Kano.
Bankole however said despite the slump, tickets sales still continue as Nigerians try to change their trading patterns by going to Turkey instead of China where the virus started from.
He said: “Yes there has been a decline in traffic but we see Nigerians changing their movement. If Nigeria operates the open skies approach, some of the international carriers will apply to fly two or three aircraft into Nigeria because Nigeria is doing all it can to curtail the spread of the virus.
“None of the foreign airlines that fly into Nigeria have cancelled their flight since the spread of the virus. We are still selling tickets, although not as much as we used to.”
He however said the Coronavirus outbreak does not affect local flights.
The NANTA President lauded the management of the Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria while commending the Lagos State and aviation authorities for their efforts so far in curtailing the spread of the virus.
On the AGM, he said the gathering of drivers in the Aviation sector downstream would explore how government’s tax policies affect the travel industry and how the potentials in the sector could be galvanized to generate employment.
He said at the AGM, the association would launch an awareness programme driven by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to provide information critical to managing the situation on ground.
“We are looking to set up a special call line to help those who want to reach out to NANTA on the issue, as it affects their travel to high-risk countries. I am using this opportunity to thank Aliko Dangote who donated 200 Million Naira to the government to help address any impact and prevention of the outbreak,” he added.