While the majority of agents are happy in their jobs, more than a quarter of the respondents to a recent Travel News jobs survey said they wanted to get out of travel.
Describing their future plans, 67% said they wanted to stay in their present travel jobs; eight percent said they would like to become an ITC; three percent would like to get a different job in travel, and 28% want to get out of travel completely, forever.
The majority, 57%, predicted that there would be a skills shortage when travel picked up, but that this would be temporary as people would return to the industry; 17% said there would be no skills shortage because the industry would continue to attract people; and 27% said there would be a skills shortage and that nobody would want to work in travel knowing what could happen.
Worryingly, a number of agents said their companies were on the brink.
“I have managed to survive up until now, thankfully, but it's starting to get critical now,” said one respondent. “I need to make a call asap as to whether I keep subscriptions going (consortium, Amadeus, QuickBooks etc) or just cut my losses and bail on travel forever. I fear 2021 may be just as bad as 2020 before things begin to settle in the travel world.”
“As an independent travel agency focusing mainly of international travel pre-COVID-19, we have had no income for nine months,” one agent commented. “Will we be able to survive until 2022 or 2024 for travel to get back to where it was in February 2020? It is not an easy decision to make” said another.
Many agents lamented the lack of support from government following the pandemic. “It is evident that our government, along with many others around the world, has a limited understanding of business,” one respondent commented. “So many jobs could have been saved, especially in our industry, if governments had a better understanding and empathy, and could therefore make wiser decisions.”
“We are one of the biggest industries, hit the hardest by this pandemic, and it never felt as if we had support from our president or government,” an agent respondent said.