The Punch

Travel agents lament naira devaluatio­n amid COVID-19

- Juliana Ajayi

SOME travel agents have bewailed the recent increase in the naira-dollar exchange rate, saying the travel industry is yet to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had in May devalued the naira as it adopted the NAFEX exchange rate of N410.25 per dollar as its official exchange rate, days after removing the N379/$ rate from its website.

Our correspond­ent gathered that travel agencies in the country had adjusted the exchange rate being used for foreign air tickets to N460/$1 from N440/$1.

The adjustment is expected to raise the cost of tickets for internatio­nal flights.

The travel agents, who spoke to our correspond­ent, said the increase in the exchange rate would definitely affect air tickets.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nola Travels & Tours Limited, Olubiyi Oluwajoba, said travel agents saw the increase in exchange rate coming, adding that it was taking a toll on their businesses.

he noted that COVID-19 had hit the travel business hard and travel agencies were yet to recover from it.

One of the travel agencies visited by our correspond­ent in Ikeja, Lagos described the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry as huge.

An official of the company said what was keeping the agency afloat was referrals from previous travellers.

The President, National Associatio­n of Nigeria Travel Agency, Susan Akporiaye, said the increase in the exchange rate was an issue that had been ongoing for a while.

She said, “The recent increase would not make any difference as it had been ongoing for a long time. The exchange rate has been above N400/$1 for a while.”

Akporiaye said for air travellers who were yet to book their tickets, it would have an impact on the tickets to be booked.

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