The advent of the internet brought about a gradual but steady diminution of the role of the TA with some predicting the demise of the intermediary to the point that many airlines (in particular) and even some hotels began to actively curtail their payments to them. TAs in India seem particularly badly affected.
However, despite a decline in their numbers, the industry is keeping its nose in front as several reports point out and agencies in some countries are actually seeing growth as this report from the UK points out. The report notes that despite the downturn those that specialize in cruises and ski-vacations are doing well. Also on the upswing are bookings that are far into the future – those for December of this year and summer 2010. Interestingly travel insurance sought by would be vacationers is back in demand.
In the US, Charleston's Post and Courier has an article that points out that "Travel agent offers personal touch to set up ideal vacations". Among the benefits of using one – saving money on a trip as people might get the lowest
airline rate but end up making extra connections and adding to their
Also, supporting the TA industry (in the UK) with a new drive are two new promotions from American airlines. One of the offers (extended only through TAs) allows passengers "the chance to experience the high
life through complimentary one-way upgrades from Business to First
Nevertheless, the news is far from all-positive with many still reporting bleak travel prospects brought on by shrinking wallets all around. The number of plane tickets sold in the United States in 2008 was down 7 percent from 2007 according to that report.