AAA: Outlook for Travel Agents Remains Positive for Years to Come

(Graphic by AAA)

The outlook for travel agents is positive, according to new research from AAA. The organization’s latest research, which is the result of a telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted this past August, found that the vast majority of Americans (75 percent) would consider working with a travel agent to plan their vacations, while some 27 million travelers plan to do so just within the next year, according to new research from AAA Travel. In a good sign for the years to come, Millennials are just as likely as Baby Boomers to say they are planning to use a travel agent for a trip in the next 12 months.

More from the report: Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) feel that working with a travel agent adds value to their trip, AAA said. Travelers’ top reasons for considering whether to consult a travel agent are to ensure a smooth experience on more complicated and expensive trips, and for recommendations and help arranging special activities and experiences.

Nearly half of travelers (49 percent) would consider working with a travel agent for an international vacation, but just one-quarter (22 percent) would do so for a vacation within the United States, according to the report.

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The new survey is the latest good news regarding the usage of travel agents. According to the latest data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), airline ticket sales through travel agents were up 3.4 percent in 2017. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall number of travel agents has also grown over the past few years.

Looking ahead, MMGY Global’s latest leisure travel forecast has pointed to a slight slowdown this year, both in the growth of the travel sector overall and the usage of travel agents. MMGY said that this pause, however, mainly seems due to travelers taking fewer, but longer, vacations – meaning that overall travel spend remains roughly the same.

“There’s no cause for alarm,” Steve Cohen, SVP of travel insights for MMGY, told Travel Agent at the time that organization’s report was first issued. “It’s just not growing at the same rate.

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