“Today, the rules and regulations of our profession are constantly changing. The time when the travel agent was simply a ticket seller is forever gone,” says Latifou Seidinan Oumar, VP of the Association of Travel Agents in Ivory Coast (2AVTCI)
Latifou shares his story about the creation of 2AVTCI, the challenges of the travel industry in Ivory Coast and the collaboration with Amadeus.
He explains that in this industry, which is in perpetual motion, it is important to be dynamic and partner with strategic partners such as Amadeus. Latifou explains that the collaboration between Amadeus and 2AVTCI is a successful one. “Amadeus is our natural and historic partner. Amadeus was at our sides since the very beginning of our adventure.”
The collaboration with Amadeus has allowed 2AVTCI to upskill travel agents in the region. Latifou says: “Every month, Amadeus Ivory Coast offers us various training modules to allow us to harmonise the level of knowledge among travel agents.”
Skill Enhancement is key…
The association itself has also initiated various training options in English as well training in the form of Fam trips to help travel agents explore the tourism products in the country. Only recently, travel agents were invited to get to know the tourism sites in the South Comoé region in Ivory Coast.
From August, 2AVTCI will introduce professional hospitality training, which will include a public speaking module. This will enable travel agents to sell their products by speaking professionally to their customers.
Skill enhancement for travel agents is one of the main objectives of the association. Latifou tells us: « The idea of this association took root in 2010. The five founding members (Abdul Razack Sebréné; LATIFOU Seidinan Oumar; Hypolithe Nossi; Landry Mathias, Alex Soumahoro), all travel agents, decided to join forces in order to establish a professional ethics for the travel industry and to find ways to uplift and upskill the industry. »
On May 1, 2012, the Association of Travel Agents and Tourism of Côte d’Ivoire, which has the acronym 2AVTCI, was officially created in Grand Bassam, during a general meeting. “The association is apolitical, non-profit and non-denominational,” says Latifou.
Informing the travel agent community is also an important goal for 2AVTCI. Latifou says: “Currently, the most important tool we have to communicate information with travel agents are our social networks. ”
AVTCI also aims to put local tourist attractions in Côte d’Ivoire in the spotlight. “Every year, in May, as part of Labour Day, which happens to coincide with the creation of 2AVTCI, we organise a fun training outing in a region in Ivory Coast, with the aim of highlighting the tourist potential of these destinations to travel agents. So far, we have already visited Grand Bassam, Assinie, Jacqueville, Azito and this year we will go to Dabou, “said Latifou, promising that in 2019, the association will go even further.
Finally, the association acts as a professional placement agency for travel agents and new graduates. “Since its creation, 2AVTCI has contributed to the professional integration of more than 500 travel agents,” says Latifou. He adds that the association plans to do even better in the future as it plans to position itself as the first recruiting channel on the market. He says: “I would like to take this opportunity to say a big” thank you “to the airlines, and travel agencies who consult with us before they recruit. ”
In addition, Latifou explains 2AVTCI has undertaken – in collaboration with a local insurance company – to offer health insurance at a very low rate to travel agents in order to help travel agents improve their living and working conditions.
What is Latifou’s advice for newcomers to the profession?
“To newcomers: I would urge them to be proactive, to constantly seek to be trained and to diversify their knowledge of the industry. That way they will become an indispensable asset to their agency. A good travel agent must, first of all, have good connections and a good knowledge of his trade.”