“It is a sad day in the travel community as we mourn the loss of Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm. With tens of thousands of lost jobs and hundreds of thousands of affected travelers, the impact is real and substantial.”
These are the words of American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) President & CEO Zane Kerby as part of a statement issued in response to Thomas Cook ceasing operations. His statement continues:
“It’s unfortunate that funding wasn’t secured in time to preserve the brand and avoid the disruption to the lives of employees and to travelers. The unique circumstances surrounding Brexit magnified Thomas Cook’s financial challenges in their home market.
“The Thomas Cook situation is not indicative of the declining health of the overall travel advisor industry. Far from it. According to our independent recent research study, travel advisors report strong business demand, and growth for 2020.
“In fact, over the past 6 years, our yearly consumer research study reports a higher number of consumers turning to travel advisors each year. The vast majority of our members, mostly women-owned small businesses, indicate that their businesses are thriving. At the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau’s numbers for travel agency employment continue to grow, with an eight percent increase over five years.
“Some in the media have been calling for the demise of the travel agencies since the dawn of the new millennium and the rise of online booking. If those prophecies were true, our travel advisors and our annual consumer research would be telling us a very different story.
“The scale of the financial loss and disruption from Thomas Cook’s collapse should not be minimized. However, with ASTA members, we look confidently to the future.”