An Exciting Outlook from Diane Petras, President of The Travel Institute
For the travel industry, the last two years have brought significant change and sustained challenges to our professional and personal lives. Perhaps there has never been a new year anticipated with more hope than the year 2022. As we look forward to better days, we also look back, reflecting on the needs of our advisor community in ’21 and how we responded, what we learned from our students, and how we intend to meet their needs going forward:
- Interest in travel agent careers remained high with a 36% increase in our introductory training applicants year-over-year as noted this past fall.
- Multiple industry reports indicated the agent role has become increasingly important to travelers looking for reassurance and support for their travel plans.
- In response to traveler demand, we launched an all-new wellness course for agents; we also updated and moved the Exploring the World geography course, TRIPKITSM foundational training, and our Caribbean, Italy and Mexico destination courses to our interactive, e-learning environment to maximize agent comprehension and retention.
- We saw an uptick in certified graduates who claimed their digital credential to better market their capabilities, including being listed in our consumer-facing Certified Travel Agent Directory.
- Our board of directors was fortified with three new appointments and the appointment of a new chairman.
- We continued to emphasize educated agent value, capturing the attention of national media like never before.
Looking ahead, the outlook for travel in 2022 is cautiously optimistic with one recent report1 showing 2022 could be even more popular for trips than pre-pandemic times given pent-up demand and anticipating COVID to be less prevalent. For our part, we’ll continue offering the education agents need to be ready to meet demand AND continue emphasizing the value agents educated and certified through The Travel Institute bring to consumers and to our industry, including an all-new marketing module for our CTA program in Q1 as well as other programming in support of continued education at every phase of an agent’s career. In addition, we anticipate celebrating a key milestone early in the new year: passing the 27,000-mark for agents certified through our CTA®, CTC® and CTIE® programs. We also plan to regularly collect and share frontline insights from our extensive agent population each month. Last but not least, we’ll continue to enhance our consumer-facing Certified Travel Agent Directory for consumers.
We remain singularly focused on providing affordable education that advances travel professionals in order to advance our industry. On behalf of my team and The Travel Institute’s board of directors, thank you for your support. We celebrate every student, every colleague and every organization committed to our industry’s ongoing, collective success, and, indeed, we celebrate the arrival of 2022!