TRAVEL INDUSTRY GROWTH. Officials of the Philippines Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) hold a press conference for the 27th PTAA Travel Tour Expo 2020 at the Manila Hotel on Friday (Jan. 10, 2020). PTAA President Ritchie Tuaño (center) said services offered by travel agencies are still in demand despite more people who are booking and planning their trips online. (PNA photo by Kris Crismundo)

Services of travel agencies remain relevant despite the rise of online travel platforms, the Philippines Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said Friday.

In a press conference, PTAA president Ritchie Tuaño said the services offered by travel agencies are still in demand despite more people who are booking and planning their trips online.

“We’re still very much thriving. We’re still discovering new destinations and new products to sell, so the business is still growing and withstanding the new competitors that come in, in terms of technology and other channels of sales,” Tuaño said.

He added that despite the change in the landscape of travel agents’ businesses due to increasing travel-related digital platforms, agencies are relevant to particular segments of the market such as group tours and corporate trips.

“With this new technology that comes in, we have not been limited to a particular segment of the market. We still do individual travelers, we still do groups, maybe the individuals have lessened a bit, but we still do them,” he said

“Probably in most cases, travelers might get good rates online. But what we would like to highlight as travel agents are the services that we offered; pre-travel and post-travel, we have your back. If things go wrong, you have always a number and a person to call. That’s where we come in as travel agents,” Tuaño said.

Credit card users, travel spending rise

The rising number of travelers in the country also translated into an increase in the number of credit card users and travel spending through credit card, Citibank Portfolio Usage head Gaurish Khanna told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“You would see that the travel spending on our credit cards has been growing double-digit, growing steadily since the last three years,” Khanna said.

“What has happened is credit card companies have added more and more travel offers and we started engaging more with airlines and hotel,” he added.

Khanna said banks also introduce installment features to make it more affordable to customers in purchasing bigger travel packages.

“They can purchase bigger packages right now and can pay by installments so they don’t need to worry about the immediate outflow of money,” he said.


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