New data reveals US travel agency sales increased in 2021

New datasets from the Airline reporting company. (ARC) show that air ticket sales from ARC-accredited travel agencies totaled $39.8 billion last year.

Data compares travel agent air ticket sales from 2020 to 2021 to compare growth and travel rates. In 2020, travelers made 116 million trips. This number has increased by 50% year-on-year, with travelers making 174 million passenger trips in 2021. However, it is not reaching pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, travelers made 302 million trips. Domestic travel fares are recovering faster than international travel fares.


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In the last three months of 2021, travel agencies made more than $3 billion in sales, with travelers making 13.2 million trips, more than double the results of the fourth quarter of 2020. Of that number , about 9.2 million of these were domestic, a 115% increase from 2020. About 4.05 million were international travel, an increase of about 78% year-over-year .

Total airline ticket sales in 2020 or 2021 did not reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels, although they increased year-over-year during the pandemic; December 2019, for example, reported total airline ticket sales of $6.1 billion. Travelers spent $1.05 billion in December 2020 and then $3.1 billion in December 2021, about half the number before the pandemic, likely due to the travel hesitancy that arose when the Omicron variant has spread around the world.

December 2021 was the worst performing month for ticket sales and travel for the year, with travel and sales declining by twenty to thirty percent.

“The year-end decline we typically see in sales and travel has been more pronounced this year as consumers become concerned about the omicron variant,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of global sales, marketing , operations and customer experience at ARC. “Total sales showed a similar decline in late summer as the number of delta variant cases increased. We expect air travel to continue to recover in 2022, with online travel agencies returning to pre-pandemic levels this spring as consumers continue to fuel the recovery.

This data may only relate to airline ticket sales and travel, but it shows promising prospects for airlines and travel agencies, as well as the travel industry at large. Only time will tell what this year will bring, but the industry recovery is expected to continue to improve.

To read the full dataset, please visit CRA website.

Willie R. Golden