Government Numbers Miss Strong Growth In Agent Market

by Cheryl Rosen
Government Numbers Miss Strong Growth In Agent Market

December brought a mixed bag of numbers for the travel industry, including, once again, inaccurate numbers that fail to take into account the growing number of independent contractors in the travel agency community.

On the positive side, though, they also showed that the need for travel agents, and the amount that Americans will spend on travel overall, are heading up.

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that the total number of travel agents is falling by about 1% a year, from 74,100 in 2012 to 65,400 by 2024, as more travelers book online. But industry insiders, including ASTA, say that the number does not include an estimated 40,000-and-growing-number of independent contractors.

The BLS 2016-2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook does also note that “the sheer number of travel and review websites can make travel planning a frustrating experience” that “may lead to an increasing number of people turning to travel agents to help filter through the options and give personal recommendations."

Also on the plus side, it notes the increasing number of Baby Boomer travel agents who are retiring, making room for a new generation, and the advantage of specializing in a niche or in corporate travel. 

At the same time, a USTOA study found that 9 out of 10 tour operators predict growth in 2016, and more than half (57%) predict “a boom year,” with growth of more than 10%.  

In particular they cited Cuba, Myanmar, Iceland, Colombia, and Ethiopia and Japan (tied for fifth) as top emerging destinations, and named art and culture, honeymoon and romance, and intergenerational travel as the most popular travel categories.

Pic: Wilerson S Andrade

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Best Travel Destinations Within 5 Hours of NY

1. Bermuda

2. Iceland

3. Miami

4. Austin

5. Tulum

Source: Business Insider

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=dd7f092d-7dff-e711-80eb-782bcb667b27

What's Their 'Why'? Connect Your Clients to Their Passion for Travel

The unique reasons that inspire people to travel are the foundation of travel fulfillment, and more sales for travel agents.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Should Resorts Incent Travel Agents to Sell Spa and Wellness Treatments?
Should Resorts Incent Travel Agents to Sell Spa and Wellness Treatments?

Who is better attuned to a client’s wants and needs than agents? But the industry hasn’t broadly formalized advisor compensation to sell more of these treatments.

Have Consumer Direct Hotel Programs Peaked?
Have Consumer Direct Hotel Programs Peaked?

A recent leading consumer travel study shows that direct hotel bookings may have plateaued in 2017 — good news for travel advisors.

Travel Agent ‘Comeback’ Continues to Confound the Public
Travel Agent ‘Comeback’ Continues to Confound the Public

The so-called revival of travel advisors was a focus of attention during a panel discussion at the Skift Global Forum – and the source for some humble pie.

Can This Destination Wedding Be Saved?
Can This Destination Wedding Be Saved?

What if someone planned a destination wedding, and barely anyone wanted to show up? Travel agents offer advice on how to avoid the ultimate nuptial nightmare.

Cutting Through the Perplexity: Eight Critical Items for New Travel Advisor Businesses
Cutting Through the Perplexity: Eight Critical Items for New Travel Advisor Businesses

Industry expert gives guidance about legal issues including disclosures, insurance, copyright laws, business continuity planning, and employee vetting.

ASTA Urges Support Against Pennsylvania Tax Bill
ASTA Urges Support Against Pennsylvania Tax Bill

The bill is aimed at large, out-of-state online agencies, but its new hotel tax will detrimentally impact traditional brick-and-mortar travel advisors.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck