Travel agents perform a wide range of services that help individuals and families explore vacation and travel options and, ultimately, book them. The expertise and experience travel agents gain over the years puts them in a unique position to help consumers book ideal travel plans. Common tasks performed by travel agents include:
- Speaking with clients about their travel or vacation preferences
- Research accommodation and lodging options
- Price-shopping and negotiating discounts on behalf of their clients
- Calculating total travel costs
- Advising travel clients on various aspects of their trip, including what to pack, weather, and local customs
- Booking reservations for clients
- Helping clients resolve issues that arise while they travel
Georgia travel agent programs prepare students for a career in the hospitality, tourism, and leisure sector. According to a report from the Georgia Department of Labor, travel agents in Georgia can choose from two separate certifications, both offered through The Travel Institute:
- Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)
- Certified Travel Associate (CTA)
Fast Facts for Travel Agents in Georgia
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 1,410 travel agents were employed in Georgia in 2014. Together, they earned an annual mean wage of $38,300. The following regions in Georgia employed the bulk of these workers that year:
- Atlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta: 1,150
- Savannah: 60
Because online search engines have made it easier for individuals to book their own travel plans, job openings for travel agents are expected to decrease over the coming years. In Georgia, specifically, employment for travel agents is expected to tumble -11.3 percent during the decade leading up to 2022.
Travel Agent Salaries in Georgia
As noted above, travel agents in Georgia earned an annual mean wage of $38,300 in 2014, which works out to approximately $18.42 per hour. That figure compares favorably with the national annual wage for this profession, which was $37,730 in 2014.
On a national level, some industries paid travel agents more, on average. Here are the highest paying industries for travel agents in 2014:
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services: $45,200
- Office Administrative Services: $44,340
- Scheduled Air Transportation: $42,830
- Management of Companies and Enterprises: $40,120
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services: $38,710
Metro Areas Rated for Salary and Popularity
Employment per 1,000 Residents
Annual Mean Wage in 2014
Atlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta
To learn more about the hotel, tourism, and travel agent industry in Georgia, we reached out to Mark Newton, Program Director of the Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Program at Gwinnett Technical College.
What are some of the unique issues that travel agents and those in the hospitality industry face in the state of Georgia?
We are a people industry, and the challenges we face always boil down to preparing students for a lifetime of serving others. The hospitality industry is all about making people happy. When we teach, we do case studies and explore different situations people might find themselves in. The biggest challenge is training students to deal with people appropriately. We are a large, people-centered industry.
What is the greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of Georgia?
The biggest benefit for hospitality students is that this field offers quick entry into the workforce. A lot of jobs in this industry can be had with Associate's degrees. Our job is to make our students more employable. A lot of job openings in Georgia go unfilled because they are looking for more employable people.
How will the job of a travel agent change in the next 10 to 20 years?
The hotel industry and travel industry continue to change and become more technology-oriented. It really comes down to customer service - and customer service is about relationships with customers.. No matter what, it will always be based on that. Even as technology changes, you have to make your customers happy.
How is your school preparing students for the future?
We learn in the classroom, but we also do a lot of field trips and talk to lots of industry experts. On November 4th of this year, we are taking our students on a trip called the "Tour of Atlanta" where we take a bus downtown, stop at restaurants and travel agencies, and get employers to come out and talk to us. The biggest thing we do to prepare students is to stay connected to the industry. We also teach convention planning, wedding planning, and country club management. A lot of people don't realize how big this industry is.
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- Interview with Mark Newton, Ed.D., Program Director of the Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Program at Gwinnett Technical College
- Licensed and Certified Occupations in Georgia, Georgia Department of Labor, https://explorer.dol.state.ga.us/mis/current/cerliccurrent.pdf
- Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Georgia, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
- The Travel Institute, http://www.thetravelinstitute.com/
- Travel Agents, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/travel-agents.htm
- Travel Agents, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes413041.htm