Andrew Burnes, chief executive officer and managing director; Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer Air New Zealand; Simon McKearney, executive general manager New Zealand with helloworld Andrew Burnes, chief executive officer and managing director; Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer Air New Zealand; Simon McKearney, executive general manager New Zealand with helloworld

Travel agents trendy again

It’s becoming cool to have a travel agent again, says helloworld Travel chief executive officer and managing director Andrew Burnes.

‘There is widespread recognition among people now that agents are adding to the equation and that having a good travel agent among the professionals in your world is beneficial,’ Burnes said in an address to the helloworld Frontliners’ Conference at Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau over the weekend.

‘We all know there used to be a lot of talk about the death of travel agents. The question was ‘doesn’t everyone book online now?’ We’re just not having those conversations anymore.’

He says that as people are living longer and looking for richer experiences the role a travel agent will become even more important.

‘We are selling 80-year-olds bicycle tours in France. Who would have thought even 20 years that we would be doing that?’

Burnes says the outlook is positive. ‘We’re well positioned for sustainable long-term growth, with the business fundamentals heading in the right direction.’

He says helloworld is committed to future proofing the business for its agency networks through investment in technology, training, new products and increased brand profile.

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