Travel booking jobs fell slightly in March, by 200 jobs, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Travel booking jobs were also down year-over-year, by 1,900.
The leisure and hospitality sector as a whole, however, added 5,000 jobs last month. Leisure and hospitality jobs overall were also up year-over-year.
The decline in travel booking jobs follows a four-month run of job gains that started in December as the travel industry began to recover from the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Leisure and hospitality jobs have also been steadily climbing since then.
Overall, the unemployment rate continued to hold steady at 4.1 percent, where it has been hovering for the past six months. The economy added a total of 103,000 jobs in March, with particular increases in manufacturing, health care and mining.
Despite the dip in travel booking jobs, there have been a number of positive signs for the industry over the past few weeks. In a recent interview with Travel Agent, prominent host agency Andavo Travel (a member of Virtuoso) reported that Wave Season sales this year were up a remarkable 23 percent. Overall, year to date sales were up 21 percent over 2017, after a 15 percent jump since 2016.
Similarly, Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) just-released Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report shows optimism among cruise-selling travel agents. Nearly eight out of 10 agents surveyed (79 percent) said cruise sales were consistently on the rise when compared to last year, and the majority of agents are still booking trips to the Caribbean despite the impact of last year’s hurricanes.
Even hard-hit Puerto Rico showcased its tourism recovery with a record-breaking tourism surge over the Easter and Passover holidays.