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Have you noticed there are a lot of travel agents in Nigeria? If you search CAC records of tour companies, the list is quite long and it can cause confusion in deciding who to trust. 

With unemployment on the rise, many people are getting into tourism to make money because it doesn’t require heavy capital to become an agent. With two weeks of training, a travel website, internet access, CAC registration, social media marketing strategies and a business card, anyone can become an agent. But these alone cannot make up the character and credibility needed to stay in the tourism business as a trusted agent. 

The opportunities for making money in the Nigerian tourism industry include Visa procurement, sales of lodging and transportation, arranging tours/excursions for clients both individuals, groups and companies, etc. But being an agent in Nigeria can be challenging and veterans will tell you their passion is what keeps them going. 

So how does a novice wading into the Nigerian tourism scene decides who to trust with their hard-earned cash?

1. Check If They Are Passionate and Dependable

As a travel agent, planning trips/tours require a lot of attention to detail. One slip up can ruin your reputation/credibility for life. Only passionate people stick it out day-in-day-out with the routines for providing tour services and still enjoy it. Their passion forces them to be dependable. This you can tell by how punctual they are to meet us, consistent they are with follow-ups, how timely they get accurate information across to you and how detail-oriented they are. 

2. Lookout For Proof Of Claim

Whatever service they are offering, ask for proof that they have successfully given such to others. Ask for references of people who can vouch for them, check their online platforms and contact said clients for confirmation that they provided such service. What is their pedigree like? Are there testimonials from previous users or articles written about their company or even honourable mentions as regards the service they provide by travel bloggers/sites? Ask them for a contractual agreement listing the services you are paying for, if they shy away then it’s a red flag. Most committed tour agents won’t even wait for you to ask before obliging you. 

3. Confirm If They Are Authorised And Legitimate

Are they a registered company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)? Not just registered in name only. Some tour companies are registered with Nigeria Civil Aviation Authorities (NCAA), check if they are on that list as well especially if they are offering flight-related services. Do they have a physical address for their office? Have you been there? Can their neighbours attest to how long they have been operating the business from that location?

4. What Is Their Return Client Base Like?

What is their relationship with clients like? Do they go the extra mile and work towards building long-lasting relationships or are they just focused on the numbers? When clients keep coming back, it says something about the quality of service rendered. Besides having a large stable of clients is a great way for tour agents to stay in business. And those who keep in touch and have clients recommend them to have credibility and staying power in the industry.  

5. Are They Customer-Value Focused?

Speaking of going the extra mile, what do they do when a wrench is thrown in their plans? How do they make it up to their clients? Is the client’s delight foremost in their plans or are they okay with just getting it over with? Have they been to the places they are offering and tasted the experience for themselves?

6. What Is Their Payment Process Like?

Avoid paying cash. Use online banking so the transaction is traceable and the bank transfer will act as evidence if the deal goes bad. It is usually best to Book your ticket yourself with authorised travel agents like Wakanow or Travel Start Ng. If you must use other not so prominent agents, keep records of all your documents and communications. Ask to go with the agent in person to the embassy when submitting your documents for Visa processing or ask for online verifiable proof that the visa got is real, not fake.

7. Do They Offer Specialised Services?

There is a saying in Nigeria that jack of all trade is master of none. Sure our economy forces one to have diverse business paths for multiple streams of income, make sure the agent has an area of specialisation. For instance, Naidrenalin focuses on Adventure tourism in Nigeria, Motley offers Cultural tourism in Nigeria, Social Prefect offers exciting tour experiences within and outside Nigeria, Unravelling Nigeria focuses on personalised private tours within Nigeria, while Nigerians Travel Too and a few other tour operators focus trips outside Nigeria to Asia, Europe and other Africa countries. 

Have you ever been scammed by a travel agent? Please share your story in the comments, let’s learn what the red flags to avoid are. You never know who your story might help. 

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This article was first published on 14th July 2019


Ann Esievoadje is a freelance writer who is passionate about encouraging a reading culture and personal development. She has authored two books, The Quilt (fiction) and Being Mummy and Me (non-fiction). She manages Pulchra Publishing which offers a content creation/editing, transcription, different forms of writing (including Ghostwriting) service and her blog, Life Love and Anything Goes at You can reach her at

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