By Shaun Busuttil @shaunbusuttil19 Apr 2017Do you keep bumping into people who think that Travel Agents are a dying breed, soon to be discarded in the rubbish bin and replaced with online booking websites such as Webjet, Expedia and Skyscanner? Do you keep meeting people who act all shocked and confused when you tell them what you do for a living, surprised that Travel Agent-ing is still actually a thing? Recent shows like the ABC’s woeful ‘Checkout’ segment unfairly depicting Travel Agents doesn’t help either. Besides kicking them in the **** and walking off with their drink (and recommending that they read this article), you could also hit them back with some of these pearly nuggets of knowledge. If there’s only one thing you read today, it’s this. 1. Umm, we’re actually totes popular with the millennials Contrary to what you may think, 18 to 35-year-olds are actually the demographic most likely to use a travel agent, according to the results of MMGY Global’s 2014 Portrait of the American Traveler. Yep, the demographic that’s the most online and most informed are deciding to book their travels with a travel agent, in even greater numbers than the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the matures (born pre 1946). 2. We’re growing & growing as an industry too Less than a week ago, Flight Centre Travel Group made a low risk entry into South America with the purchase of a 24.1 percent share in Argentina’s second largest travel group, Bibam. There’s simply no way Skroo Turner would give the green light to such a move if the industry wasn’t performing strong. Indeed, the industry is preforming exceedingly well, so much so that according to a recent salary benchmarking analysis for 2016 by C&M Travel Recruitment, Travel Agents are now receiving 9.2 percent more in their take home pay. “There was a dip for a period when a lot of people thought they could do it themselves online, but now a lot of those customers are realising that its not as easy as they thought it was.” Christian Hunter, chief executive, Travellers Choice. The adventure tourism sector has also been swelling in the last few years, opening up new avenues of growth for travel operators such as G Adventures, Intrepid and Chimu Adventures. But according to the experts, the sector has only just reached its “adolescence” and is poised for a growth spurt in the coming years. The same resurgence of the travel industry is being witnessed abroad too. According a 14,000 strong survey of American consumers conducted by the American Society of Travel Agents, 22 percent had booked travel through a travel agent in the last year. That’s the highest number reported in three years! 3. We’ve adapted to stay competitive The biggest and most successful travel agencies are no longer confined to brick-and-mortar stories. The business model of Flight Centre Travel Group, helloworld and other major players has changed, offering consumers the convenience of booking online, thereby still appealing to that sector of the market that prefers to book their holiday themselves. And then there’s the growing phenomenon of the Mobile Travel Agent. Ten years ago, technology didn’t really make this profession viable. Now, Travel Counsellors, Travel Managers and other mobile travel agencies are major players in the industry. Indeed one Australian Travel Counsellor has famously just announced that she has ticked over $30m in turnover in the last six years. That’s not exactly an example of someone struggling for business. It just goes to show that Travel Agents haven’t really gone anywhere – they’ve just evolved along with the industry. As long as people keep travelling – which will be forever and ever and ever – there will always be a need for informed and competent travel experts. Don’t you agree? What’s your favourite way to respond to the haters out there? Share your comment below. Other stories you may like AGENTS: How’s Earlybird Europe been so far? Take our 60 sec poll. Travel Agents, WIN a trip to Europe with G Adventures Win a Golden Ticket with Lufthansa Group & take advantage of their extended Early Bird Sale Fares!