September 23, 2019
American Society of Travel Advisors Issues Statement on Thomas Cook Ceasing Operations Alexandria, VA, September 23, 2019 – ASTA President & CEO Zane Kerby issues the following statement in response to Thomas Cook ceasing operations: 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.
It’s unfortunate that funding wasn’t secured in time to preserve the brand and avoid the disruption to the lives of employees and 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.
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.