As a journalism student, I’m constantly writing—whether it be for my classes, my internship, or my blogs. Right now I’m taking a class that has the best assignments: In-Depth Reporting. We are responsible for three long articles about any topic that interests us. While my first two articles haven’t pertained to travel (one was a business article, the second a profile of a blogger), the third definitely is.
Right now I’m in the midst of interviewing a several people who work in travel and tourism, and in particular in the realm of travel agencies. So far I’ve spoken with three sources: an operations manager at a travel agency in Wisconsin, a travel agent at a student travel agency, and a communications coordinator at our state department of tourism.
So far, I’ve learned a few interesting things. I’ll post the article on this blog when it’s completed, but for now, enjoy a few facts you may not have known about the travel industry, or the travel agency business.
- If you are a teacher or student, there’s usually a travel agency that will give you a discount on flight tickets. For instance, at my interview with the travel agent at a nearby student travel agency, she said while you might find a decent price on an airline ticket, if you go to a student travel agency, it’s pretty likely they can knock down the price by quite a bit.
- There are cooler tours out there than you probably think. One tour I recently learned about takes only people who are 18 to 30 years of age. The tours are not led, but instead guided by a native of the country you visit. The person in charge offers direction when you want it, but there’s more free time to explore. The tours can be made up of less than 14 people, and you take public transportation. It’s common for solo women travelers to travel this way—on their own, but in a loosely formed group so they feel comfortable.
- The travel agency business seems to be recovering. Every source I’ve spoken with says 2008 was the worst year, but it sounds like things are improving. One travel agency says they’re basically at the level of business they were at before the economic downturn.
- Baby boomers are a huge market for travel agencies. They’re the largest demographic in the world today, and now they’re beginning to retire. With that retirement come vacations, even if they don’t have a lot of money saved.
- The travel and tourism industry is the second largest industry in the world—after groceries. The money people have to spend on travel isn’t inexpensive, like food or other products. And the money consumers put into traveling adds up quickly. In Wisconsin, one of 13 jobs is supported by tourism—and we’re much less of a tourism destination than most places.
So, there are your travel facts for the day. Check back to read my full article in a few weeks!