Travel advisers 'needed now more than ever' in 2021

'I just think it will be a better trip if a professional helps me do it,' says traveler Amy Ribacoff
Eltee Travel.JPG
Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 01, 2021

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- — There’s a lot of talk about the tourism in Florida — but what about Floridians looking to get away? 2021 is proving to be a good year for travel agents and advisers. That’s according to research from the American Society of Travel Advisors who said 44% of travelers are now more likely to use a travel agent when booking their next trip.

WPTV has been inside Eltee Travel in Boca Raton for 20-minutes and already there’s three people planning to travel to three different parts of the globe.

”I just think it will be a better trip if a professional helps me do it,” said Amy Ribacoff. “I didn’t realize all the details and specifics involved prior.”

She wants to go to the slopes of Colorado sometime this winter. Meanwhile, Esther Goodman wants to go to Spain. Both said the internet offers a lot of options, but worry about guarantees.

ELTEE TRAVEL with customer.JPG

“(The internet) does until you have a problem. And the very first time you have a problem you’re going to spend your entire your day solving your problem instead of texting or picking up your phone and it’s done — they deal with it,” Goodman said.

Eltee travel owner Leslie Tillem-Doniger was raised in the travel agency business in New York City. She has decades of experience yet has seen nothing like traveling amid a pandemic.

“There’s so many reasons that a travel adviser is needed now more than ever,” Tillem-Doniger said. “Because of the constant changing rules with traveling anywhere. You can go to Greece and it’s a vaccine card. You can go to Anguilla and they want you to be PCR (polymerase chain) tested. But you can go to Saint Martin, where you would land and you would need a rapid test. And one is 48 hours and one is 72 hours and those calls are constant.”

travel advisor Leslie Tillem

A constant in the COVID-19 era that has some reports calling 2021 the year of the in-person travel agent.

”Travel is an expensive undertaking and you want to be aware of those dollars — rightfully so,” Tillem-Doniger said.

And sources like Travel Agent Central reported over 75% of travelers prefer in-person over online agencies.

Economist Dr. Bernard Francis Pettingill estimates there’s a shortage of in-person agents.

”It’s going to get very complicated,” Dr. Pettingill said. “The travel agent industry is getting harder and more specialized.”

And he also said it’s the latest U.S. issue of supply verses and demand.

Eltee Travel Agency.JPG

”First you have to get more certified travel agents — you have to take an exam with the State. You have to be qualified to be a travel agent and then I think travel agents will have to specialize,” Pettingill said. “There will be a travel agent for Europe. There will be a travel agent for northern Europe and Scandinavia, Western countries, Russia and China.”

But Pettingill also said the rise in travel stocks on Monday is likely related to people’s faith in travel.

”My recommendation is to bring in a professional,” said Pettingill.

“Why wouldn’t you do that if it doesn’t cost you more,” Goodman added.

According to the agent and expert 99% of the time fees for an in-person agent verses online are likely no different. To learn more visit, here.