Travel and Tourism: Travel Agencies, Tour Operators and Related Services
The travel agency and tour operator industry, which was disrupted in recent years by technology, faced unprecedented disruption as lockdowns and travel bans effectively stopped them for operating for much of 2020 and 2021. Travel agents and tour operators’ businesses dwindled to almost nothing, some closed and many jobs in the industry were lost.
The biggest travel trend over the past decade is the shift to online booking. Industry sources said that companies that provide good advice and information on health and security measures and flexible payment and booking options will have a competitive advantage. Due to lockdown restrictions, the emphasis is on local travel and travel to neighbouring countries. Some people are increasingly concerned about responsible travel and monitor their own footprint as they travel.
Technology and Innovation
Technology is driving improved efficiencies and service levels, but is also leading to more choice for consumers. Traditional travel agents are increasingly being disintermediated by online travel agents and aggregators. It is now commonplace for travellers to book their own flights and accommodation online. Digital platforms also enable individuals to offer their homes as tourist accommodation to consumers directly . Virtual reality provides travellers with guided tours and a preview of what they can expect at their destination. Personalised marketing, which uses client data to personalise advertising and promotion, is being implemented by online travel agencies.
This report focuses on travel agencies, tour operators and related services in the South African travel and tourism industry. It includes information on the state of the tourism industry and how this has affected travel agencies and tour operators, trends and other influencing factors. There are profiles of 49 companies, from well-known players such as Tourvest, Rennies Travel and Flight Centre to online operators such as Travelstart and tour operators such as And Beyond.