There are currently an estimated 81,700 travel agents in the United States. The travel agent job market is expected to shrink by -11.6% between 2016 and 2026.
How employable are travel agents?
CareerExplorer rates travel agents with a F employability rating, meaning this career should provide poor employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will lose -3,400 travel agents. That number is based on the retirement of 6,100 existing travel agents.
Are travel agents in demand?
The factor most impacting the job outlook and demand for travel agents is the internet. Easy public online access to airline and travel websites has transformed the entire industry. With more consumers researching and planning their own trips and making their own reservations, travel agents are, by necessity, reinventing the way they conduct business. One of the results of this new reality has been the move to specialization. In the current marketplace, the best chances for success will belong to travel agents who specialize in a certain destination or area of the world; a specific kind of traveler, such as ethnic groups or special interest groups; or a particular segment of the industry, such as cruise, luxury, or adventure travel. Those with exemplary customer service skills will be in particular demand, as the limiting of commission payments to agencies by airlines has led the industry to a fee-for-service business model, placing greater scrutiny on service levels provided by travel agents. Despite the trend towards self-booking, there will continue to be consumers who still prefer to consult a professional travel agent to plan their trips and certainly to handle customized itineraries and more complex transactions. In addition, for some consumers the sheer number of travel websites can be overwhelming, causing them to turn to trained agents to sort through options and make recommendations. Increasing affordability of air travel and greater competition among airlines, especially low-cost carriers, may also help to sustain jobs in the field. But in the end, demand for travel agents is steered by demand for travel. And demand for travel declines during economic downturns and international political crises, factors which are by nature unpredictable. As global business activity expands, corporate travel agents may be less impacted by these circumstances than their counterparts in the leisure sector.
What’s the supply of travel agents?
The travel agent industry is concentrated in California, Florida, New York
Travel Agent job market by state
|State Name||Employed Travel Agents|
|District of Columbia||330|