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What’s the outlook for travel agents in 2019?

AFTA CEO gives Traveltalk the lowdown

They’ve been called the match-makers of cruising, are considered crucial for travel insurance and it was recently revealed that one in two travellers prefer using a travel agent


But how was 2018 really for travel agents and more importantly, what it’s in store for the industry in the new year? 



“We’re certainly coming to the end of the year on a high note,” Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO Jayson Westbury told Traveltalk in a recent interview.


“2018 has been a good year.”


But with two major elections coming up, for the federal and NSW governments (plus one just passed in Victoria), Mr Westbury told agents they may have to “batten down the hatches next year”. 


“Unfortunately, elections always make people get a little wobbly about travel,” he said.


“Expect a good year, but maybe not a brilliant or better year.”


Despite this, Mr Westbury said he didn’t expect a recession for travel agents.


“... based on all of the outlying figures, based on all of the government research, I don’t think we’re in for a slump,” he said. 


“But we might just be in for a bit of a rocky start. So just prepare yourself for that.” 


Talking to the end-of-year report card for the ATAS accreditation scheme, Westbury said agents continued to “embrace ATAS more and more and more”.


“The good thing about ATAS is that it’s set to deal with any business in any business model that anyone can dream up in the travel industry, and we embrace one and all,” the AFTA boss said. 


“We are channel agnostic. We sometimes get a hard time about that because OTAs are part of it. But you can’t be a whole of industry unless you’ve got the whole industry involved.”


What are your expectations for 2019?


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Written by: Mark Harada

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