…as Edo trails Lagos in states with highest air fares – National Bureau of Statistics

 The prevailing investment-friendly environment in Edo State, resulting from a series of reforms embarked upon by the Godwin Obaseki administration, to open up the state to private sector investment is impacting on air transportation, stretching airlines to their limit.

Figures obtained from a publication by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), entitled ‘Transport Fare Watch May 2018,’ showed that ‘’average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 1.04 percent year-on-year to N31,659.82 in May, 2018,  from N31,833.46, in April 2018, but decreased by 0.40 per cent month-on-month.’’

The statistics bureau listed Edo State as the state with the second highest air fare, at N39,950.00, after Lagos State, N40,500.00; while the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was listed third at N39,592.59.

The states with the lowest air fares, according to the NBS, are Katsina N24,300.00; Osun N24,950.48; and Nasarawa N25,700.18.

The May 2018 figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics validate reports by operators of hotels and guest houses, tour operators and other practitioners in the tourism and hospitality industry who have attributed the boost in hotel subscription to the wide range of economic activities such as the development of Benin Industrial Park, the Gelegele Seaport project, the 450 Edo-Azura Independent Power Project and the various road construction work across the state.

New and prospective investors are unperturbed by the high air fares, and investor confidence is at all-time high.

Recall that the Chairman, Golden Tulip Essential Hotel, Benin City, Mr. Edobor Ozakpolor, explained recently that “the current frenzy in the sector can be traced to the emerging socio-economic opportunities being created by the governor of the state.

“Hotel accommodation before now was driven by seasonal activities like cultural and political events. But what we have now is a surge and it started since the governor’s inauguration. We thought activities would nose-dive after the inauguration but the tempo has been sustained by visitors and contractors who are seeking jobs and businesses.

On air travels, he noted that “bookings have increased to 99 per cent as all the airlines that operate the Lagos-Benin route come into Benin City fully booked. This was not the trend before this administration.

“We have moved from weekend to daily business. When we ask some of our guests what they are doing in the state, they always tell us that they are here to see the state governor. Some guests are impressed by the ease with which they can see the governor and seal business deals, because of the reforms in the system.”

Mr. Ozakpolor added that “the improvement in security is also boosting the confidence of our people who now come to town often. People feel safer in the city now and we are aware that the security architecture of the state has been interrogated and improved upon. The impact of the improvement is being felt in the sector as there is a direct relationship between the hospitality industry and security.”

Osazuwa Ehiorobo, owner of The Hamptons Travel Inn, on Boundary Road, Benin City, said “more people are coming into the state now with improved security. The number of contractors that we receive at our facility is on the increase.

The governor is attracting more people to the state with his work in the road sector and the development of the industrial park and other projects in the state.”

Mr. Ehiorobo urged hotel owners to take advantage of the emerging business climate by improving their services. “Some of the factors that can keep guests in your hotel include your ability to provide steady power, suitability of your accommodation, the environment, and the security in the city,” he added.

The National Bureau of Statistics Transport Watch Report for May 2018 covers bus journey within the city per drop constant route; bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person; air fare charge for specified routes single journey; journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop; and water way passenger
transport.

According to the Report, “Average fare paid by commuters for bus journey within the city increased by 0.53 per cnet month-on-month and 32.71 per cent year-on-year to N166.85 in May 2018 from N165.94 in April 2018.

“States with highest bus journey fare within city were Abuja FCT (N325.23), Cross River (N282.14) and Abia (N235.54) while States with lowest bus journey fare within city were Bauchi (N87.92), Anambra (N93.33) and Rivers (N96.36).

“Average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity decreased by 0.05% month-on-month and increased by 14.89% year-on-year to N1,716.31 in May 2018 from N1,722.86 in April 2018. States with highest bus journey fare intercity were Abuja FCT (N4,125.51), Adamawa (N3,166.53) and Borno (N2,744.44) while States with lowest bus journey fare within city were Bauchi (N1,064.54), Enugu (N1,096.88) and Yobe (N1,125.00).”