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New Travel Agents are Adding Youth to Leisure Advisor Profession

by Richard D’Ambrosio

An inflow of younger leisure travel agents through host agencies may be finally turning the tide against the aging travel counselor profession.

The percentage of leisure travel agents reporting being 55 years of age or older was 46 percent this year, down from 51 percent in 2016, according to the 2017 Travel Industry Employee/Jobseeker Survey.

While the number of agents 20-35 years of age dropped from 6 percent in 2016 to 2 percent this year, the number of agents 35-45 years of age increased from 9 percent to 14 percent. Additionally, the number of those 45-55 years of age increased from 34 percent to 38 percent in this year’s study. The survey was conducted by Hot Travel Jobs, a part of the New Egypt, New Jersey-based Travel Staffing Group.

Analyzing the responses, Douglas Walsh, Hot Travel Jobs director of sales and marketing, said he believes the skew in younger ages is the result of an influx of individuals becoming agents through host agencies.

Conversely, corporate travel agent ages are heading in the opposite direction. According to Hot Travel Jobs, 45 percent of business travel agents are 55 years of age today, versus 31 percent in the 2016 study. Corporate agents aged 45-55 make up another 45 percent of the respondents, down from 55 percent in 2016; while agents 35-45 make up 7 percent of the employment pool in the 2017 study, versus 12 percent in 2016. Agents between 20-35 years of age increased slightly in 2017, to 3 percent from 2 percent in 2016.

More than 400 travel professionals, including corporate and leisure travel agents, and corporate travel managers, took part in this year’s survey.