Every year travel agencies in Nigeria contribute over $1 million to the international revenue of the travel industry. Starting a tourism business in Nigeria has probably crossed your mind at least once, and here is how to start a travel agency in Nigeria.
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1. Choose your type of business
If you’re wondering how to get into travel agency business, there are three possible ways you can do it:
- Travel consultancy. With this business, you will only charge people for your advice on planning a trip, finding budget options, etc. You will not sell anything but your knowledge if you become a travel consultant. However, you should have plenty of travel experience and expertise for this to work.
- Freelance travel agent. How to become a freelance travel agent in Nigeria? It can be as easy as installing a laptop with a printer in your own home! As a freelance agent, you need to work closely with an IATA-licensed agent, because freelance agents can’t do certain things, like purchase plane tickets directly from airlines.
- IATA-licensed agent. Being an IATA-licensed agent has many benefits – for example, you will be recognized by your peers and will be able to access the lowest plane fares. However, getting a licence requires you to meet a number of requirements, which may not be easy if you don’t have a large startup budget.
2. Complete the training
The job of a travel agent doesn’t require a degree, although a degree in tourism and hospitality will certainly work in your favour. You can also complete short-term courses for travel agents.
One of the most effective ways to get the necessary knowledge to work in the travel industry is to begin your career by working for an already established agency. You will experience the life of a travel agent, will build your knowledge and customer base, and will be able to decide if that’s exactly what you want.
3. Get the licence
If you’ve decided to make your travel business official, you will need to register with the IATA. This association has several strict rules that you need to follow if you want your agency to be IATA-licensed:
- A dedicated office space;
- A Corporate Affairs Commission registration;
- Up to 5 employees with a minimum of 2 employees having travel or airline experience;
- A minimum of 4 computers with internet access.
Of course, these preparations come at a price. You will need to pay between ₦1 million and ₦5 million to open your business, depending on the scale of the agency and your location in the country.
4. Establish an office
One of the most important steps in our “How to become a travel agent in Nigeria” guide is establishing an office for your business. The most important aspect of opening a travel office is the location.
The location for your travel agency needs to be located in a place with plenty of foot traffic. Busy city centres and malls work great. You can also establish an office in close proximity to the airports, bus and train stations, and anywhere people will easily find you.
Besides the computer with internet access, you will need at least one printer, a safe for storing important documents, and plenty of print-out materials to hand out to potential customers. Make sure to decorate your office in a unique manner that has something to do with travelling.
5. Promote your business
If you are wondering how to become a tour agent and not have your business fail within a few months, the answer is marketing. Travel businesses survive only with the help of customers, which means you need to have a steady flow of clients to your agency.
You can do some of the marketing for free, for example, on Facebook and Instagram. However, you will also need to invest money in promoting your business. A dedicated website, print advertisements, street and radio ads are just some of the ways to get your business out there.
Another important step in your marketing strategy should be joining the industry organizations: the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents, and IATA. Doing this will increase the number of customers in your business and give you even more vital knowledge about the industry.
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