Agency outlook is bright, says ITG

Agency outlook is bright, says ITG
By admin

The travel retail sector may be evolving but the outlook is positive for agents willing to “put the effort in”, according to the head of Independent Travel Group.

Chief executive Tom Manwaring told Travel Today that although increasingly educated consumers and the threat of online continue to dominate discussion, agencies are getting on with things, adapting to suit the changing needs of their customers.

“Sure customers are a lot smarter, but they still have a tremendous desire to have that information validated,” he said.

The complex nature of international travel also means that travel agents will continue to have relevance for consumers booking holidays overseas.

“As long as agents retain their knowledge base and the enthusiasm to sell, they will win,” Manwaring said.

Talk of being replaced by online retailers has been on the table for many years now but the scenario is yet to eventuate, he argued.

“Aggregation businesses like ours were supposed to be extinct 20 years ago, but we’re stronger than ever,” he said.

Meanwhile, Manwaring reported a “great” 12 months with the group, which also includes Express Ticketing and Select Travel seeing double digit growth in turnover with profits “solid”.

He was adamant the weakening of the Australian dollar would have little impact on demand, although election proceedings over the next month are expected to produce a temporary blip.

“We are still way ahead of where we were and everything points to a very strong travel segment in 2014/15,” he said.

“There’s still a lot of growth potential within the market – a lot of people in Australia still haven’t ever been on an airplane.

“The future is bright for people prepared to put in the effort.”

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