ON 20 JULY 2016

By Ajmal Tincowree, Agency Manager (Shamal Travels Ltd) & Business Development Manager (Shamal Group) Written for Defi Business & Economy

April 2016

The Travel Industry is one of the most dynamic in the world. The technological advances and the emergence of new operators, often with massive resources,signalled the end of the traditional Travel Agents as we know it.

It is one of the most regulated industries, with very high entry barriers, and being a travel agent is no longer for the faint hearted. Not to mention the high financial and human capital required.

The emergence of direct sales by airlines and major hotel booking aggregators was one the most terrible blows. Since the 1990s almost half of the Travel Agents have been forced out of business. However recent figures have shown that this business is now on the upswing.

The travel industry has been undergoing noteworthy growth over the past few years,mostly due to the increase in visitors but also because of the increase in Mauritian travellers.The Mauritian consumer now values experiences better in comparison with materialistic needs.

The very existence of travel agents is challenging. We have stringent rules and regulations to follow and financial commitments to provide mostly imposed on us by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). We need to abide by the law of the land and adhere to the individual policies of each Airline we sell. So you can imagine the dynamic work environment that prevails on a daily basis. The lack of routine creates a constant stress and keeps everyone on their toes ready for the next challenge. Adapting to each change as swiftly and smoothly as possible is the key to surviving in the long run.

The internet revolution is turning out to be in our benefit. The world is getting increasingly complex and with the internet, the complexities are getting even worse. Sure the choices available online makes way for a more informed buyer. But often travellers turn to the informed agent who can suggest the best itinerary and recommend accommodations and activities that will suit their needs better. Travellers use our expertise as the trusted advisor and they find great comfort in the one-to-one communication, thus feeling more relaxed while making their travel arrangements. So why not use travel agents, when planning trips is what we do all day, every day.

The tailor-made industry and package market and the new breed of travel agents now matter more than ever. The new breed of travel agents, who are in tune with their customers and the evolving market, has great promise. The agents are constantly connected through social media, e-mail, text message, instant messaging, etc… They blog and post about interesting fares and news. As agents, they are unbiased and provide customers with a more personalised service. They embrace the new age of communication and are able to deliver a service far more valuable than with traditional methods.

Travellers now seek to explore multiple cities within one country or spread across different countries with numerous activities and special requests. Not to mention all the administrative implications like VISA. Travel specialists can often pull-off the impossible when making such arrangements, plan a better trip than you ever could (really) and spare you all the hassles. All thanks to their vast network and the combination of traditional and modern techniques