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Monday, September 7, 2009

How to start a travel and tour service business in Lagos Nigeria

By Onwueme Paul

A travel and tour business is a going concern which involves the rendering of travel and tourism services namely; flight and hotel reservations, preparation for visa and other travel and immigration documents as well as city and regional tour guide for travelers. Travel and tour businesses also engage in pilgrimage and flight charter services. It is the business of ensuring that travelers are as safe as possible, arrive their destination on time and receive the most convenient and affordable services available. The duty of every travel and tour agent is to ensure that clients get the least expensive, yet most pleasant and convenient visit possible to their desired locations. A travel agent is saddled with the responsibility of planning regional visits or travel schedules for business and fun seeking travelers, thus saving them time, money and wasted efforts.


Being an agency type of business, travel and tour agencies are entitled to commission on total fees payable for the service package. People travel all the time. Business people travel, traders, diplomats, civil servants, tourists, clerics and entertainers. Most of these travelers don’t have the time, knowledge and skills to enable them successfully plan inter-regional visits and travels especially when they are first time visitors to such places. Hence the need for people who can specialize in this line of business is very essential indeed. In Lagos Nigeria, there exist a lot of opportunities to be reckoned with as competent travel and tour specialist considering that aggressive but immature competition and inefficiency are common place in the sector.


The major challenges peculiar to the Lagos Nigeria environment for this kind of business include poor road networks and traffic situations which might hinder prompt and orderly meetings with clients and partners. Inefficient transportation and I.T infrastructure are also hindrances to the successful running of this business. Also there is a great deal of discontent with Nigerian travel and tour companies particularly by the expatriate community owing to poor service delivery and past sharp practices recorded against some indigenous travel agents.


Being an IATA certified agent is by far the most important requirement. However, you may also need to have a well established network of Hotels, Airports, Airlines, car rental companies and other travel agents to be effective in the business. Most travel and tour agents work in partnership with other related businesses as well as government recognized agencies like the federal airports authority of Nigeria. Having a very convenient and suitable location is a must especially when it is close to reputable hotels, car rental companies and airports. It is advisable to work this way as you are not only close to the client but could also benefit from profitable alliances with other related businesses.


Like all other agency businesses, Travel and tour services offers possibilities of fast and enviable growth especially in terms of sales but only if service delivery is far superior to what the competition has to offer.