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
California 8,480
Florida 7,200
New York 6,010
Texas 4,670
Illinois 4,240
Pennsylvania 2,560
New Jersey 2,360
Arizona 2,250
Michigan 2,010
Massachusetts 2,000
Missouri 1,820
Georgia 1,730
Ohio 1,670
Virginia 1,580
South Carolina 1,500
Colorado 1,390
North Carolina 1,320
Washington 1,230
Maryland 1,220
Minnesota 1,200
Nevada 1,100
Wisconsin 1,080
Oregon 670
Hawaii 660
Utah 650
Indiana 640
Connecticut 610
Tennessee 610
Alabama 470
Nebraska 420
Iowa 400
Puerto Rico 370
Kansas 340
District of Columbia 330
Louisiana 330
Oklahoma 320
New Hampshire 260
Montana 230
Idaho 230
Rhode Island 190
Delaware 160
Arkansas 150
Alaska 140
Kentucky 140
Vermont 130
Maine 120
South Dakota 100
Wyoming 90
North Dakota 90
Mississippi 80
Guam 80
West Virginia 80
New Mexico 60