Susan Akporiaye: Bearing the touch for travel tech Opportunities
By Frank Meke
The global travel market has enjoyed the most profound and effusive interest from the world of technology.
It started many years ago with major airlines with global market peneration, looking for authentic ways to distribute their inventories and also accommodating accountability and sales barometer.
Global distribution system networks also triggered off debates on the continued necessity of commission baselines, tempting some airlines to cut down commission paid to travel trade professionals, insisting that their investment in technology, birthing invetory distribution ecosystem and eliminating certain marketing costs, could not justify commission deals paid to travel trade operators.
Three decades ago, that position caused a major shiver in America, with European carriers following suit. In Nigeria, that issue rankled organised trade operators, and efforts were made even though it was not sustainable to find an agreeable solution.
Everyone knew it was not going to be easy to keep the foreign airlines in check on the commission ecosystem, which hovered between 15, 12, and 10 per cent, depending on the aggregate sales output of a travel trade operator. That was then but clearly eroded these days.
Indeed, the entire cost of the trade ecosystem, for the airlines, passengers, and travel trade companies, has continued to fuel the quest to find affordable distribution and payment ecosystem in the global travel and tourism industry. While the majority of travel tech giants have their eyes factored in the growth solutions in their home counties, Africa has continued to struggle and dependent on those products or solution ecosystem, usually with unfactoured low purchasing power of the African business owners.
In recent times, President National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies ( Nanta) and chief Executive Officer, Topaz Travels, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, has taken the battle of engaging travel technology providers beyond the shores of Nigeria. She has been talking about poor peneration of travel tech in Africa to the world
Akporiaye, whose administration of Nigeria’s biggest travel trade professionals body in the past three years, has processed and engaged available opportunities in the local and international collaboration metrics beneficial to travel trade operators, most of them, if not all, struggling without government protection and tax holidays, and seeking breathe pipe windows.
The Covid pandemic instigated the need for travel trade professionals to think hard for survival outside the commission on trade sales, which has emaciated them to look as victims of kwasiokor, thus engendering a fresh blood infusion strategy to keep trade professionals going.
Whether in tourism, hospitality, logistics, ground, or air transportation, the growing desire for travel tech solution services is the Catholic creed of the new era in global travel.
Akporiaye is convinced that in this very desirable and challenging reality, Nigerian trade professionals, ambushed by poor investment opportunities and massive government tax payment platforms across board, must navigate to find a way bring down the cost of a full profitable set up without crashing out of business.
Akporiaye who spoke at the Africa technology summit and Expo in Nairobi, Kenya two weeks ago and currently in Botswana, as a headline resource facilitator on the Africa Youth Tourism Innovation Summit, appealed to global travel tech solution giants to collaborate and open up the Travel technology market for small and medium sized enterprises in Africa nay Nigeria.
She noted that since technology and travel have become inseparable, time has come to advantage affordable technology products that could stimulate broad participation of all trade professionals to market travel experiences.
Advocating for a focal Nigeria centric travel and tourism technology solution platforms, Mrs Akporiaye, who has through private initiatives, empowered a Nigerian Teachers Tourism Reality show on national/ international television channels and at the forefront of youth tech start-up empowerment and global exposure, noted that Nigeria has the most active and vibrant tech inspired young population in Africa, a market waiting for innovation in affordable travel tech solution providers in tourism, hospitality, cuisines and leisure services.
She submitted that the future is in sustainable collaboration to unveil the huge opportunities in affordable, efficient and reliable travel tech platforms which would connect the huge Nigerian cum African markets, waiting eagerly for grabs by the most resourceful and responsible travel tec entrepreneurs, and urged global investors to take advantage of Nigerian government digital space economy to make the travel world an exciting global village.