The Future of the Retail Travel Agency Business

Over the past decade and half, seldom has a month gone by without a form of news heralding the demise of the retail travel agency business. CNN reported that there are about 13,000 travel retail locations presently in the United States, down from a peak of 34,000 in the mid-1990s.

Emboldened by the closure of several brick and mortar travel agencies which defined store front travel agency business - especially in mature travel markets - the proliferation of OTAs / supplier direct web sites, the devastating effects of 9/11, the economic recession which still burdens many parts of the world, the emergence of the independent, branddisloyal travellers accustomed to instant gratification and the ensuing continued share shift from offline to online channels, pundits the world over have been sounding the death knell for the retail travel agency business model.

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