The Dow hit 1,300 last week - good news for the economy. But less encouraging - at least for the travel industry- is this month’s ARC report, which is expected to track a decline in ARC-accredited agency locations to below the 14,000 mark for the first time.
ARC data shows the loss of 703 agency locations since January 2011, and the loss of 1,753 locations since January 2010.
In contrast, suggesting the success of ARC’s other participation program, data shows growth in Verified Travel (VTC) locations.
From 930 VTC locations in January 2010, the category has grown to 1,255 in January 2011, and 1,469 recorded in January 2012.
ARC also reports solid growth in its Helix category that targets the independent store front, office, and home-based agent models, as well as hosted agents. To date, there are about 250 Helix members—a 25 percent increase since July 2011.
Average daily ARC sales have grown, moving from $10,888 in January 2010 to $12,695 in January 2011 and $14,607 in January 2012.
Also encouraging is ARC’s report of record sales in 2011 and a promising start to 2012 sales. The consolidated dollar value of airline tickets sold by U.S.-based travel agencies in 2011 increased 6.11 percent* year-over-year compared to 2010, and 25 percent over 2009, ARC said.
Last year’s ticket sales totaled a record $82.1 billion, compared to $77.4 billion in 2010, and $65.8 billion in 2009, ARC said. ARC also reported that the consolidated dollar value of airline tickets sold by U.S.-based travel agencies increased 10.7 percent* in the first month of 2012 compared to January 2011, and 22.3 percent over the same period in 2010.