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Obsolete? No way! Travel agents reject the very idea

September 5, 2013 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Travel agents have firmly rejected suggestions that they are about to be consigned to history.

The issue has stirred much controversy in the USA after job search website CareerCast listed travel agents among “useless jobs” heading for obsolescence.

The CareerCast article suggested that agents would fade away, falling victim to the digital revolution. It saw agents falling into the same category as other occupations heading towards 250x250TICBanneroblivion.

CareerCast’s list of endangered jobs:

Atmosphere coordinator “Pseudo bar/club/event patrons tasked with manufacturing a festive atmosphere.”

Compositor (in the printing industry).

Data entry keyers and/or word processors

Medium (Clairvoyants are having trouble finding work, apparently. Perhaps they saw it coming.)

Shoe repairer (or cobbler, in British English)

Sign spinner (US terminology for a person who walks around in a sandwich board, bearing advertising).

Travel agent.

That’s where the trouble began.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA – which is AFTA’s equivalent in the USA) rejects the idea that agents are doomed. And so it should. It represents more than 5900 travel agents and travel firms.

ASTA’s senior vice president, Paul Ruden, said the CareerCast list was insulting and inaccurate.

He told the Los Angeles Times that although travel agents in bricks-and-mortar offices handle only about 25% to 30% of air travel bookings, most agents concentrate on booking complex trips or corporate travel.

“Travel agents are alive and well and they do a robust business by providing expertise and advice to millions of travellers every year, using a combination of new and old technologies,” Ruden affirmed in a letter to CareerCast.

Plenty of travel agents in Australia would agree with Ruden. So would a lot of clients, both leisure and corporate.  Back in America, Jill and Dodge Melkonian the couple we mentioned last week in the story Travel agents spring old cruiser from ‘dirty’ hospital would no doubt agree with Ruden too.

As for those jobs becoming obsolete, other categories might include manual typewriter repair engineers (if any survive, they can perhaps find a job in India, where manual typewriters are still made), darkroom film processors and telephone operators.

Other jobs, such as milliners, blacksmiths and piano tuners, have long since dwindled into rarity, though not to the point of extinction.

Written by : Peter Needham

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