PHOTO: Washington makes travel agents a priority. (photo via Flickr/Phil Roeder)
The U.S. State Department launched a website specifically for travel agents and has received praise from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
Overall, the new site serves as a resource for travel industry members, providing information on everything from obtaining a passport and receiving emergency assistance abroad to traveling with pets and signing up for Global Entry. Travel warnings and alerts are also highlighted for easy tracking.
ASTA highlighted the State Department’s efforts to help agents better assist clients.
“ASTA commends the State Department for creating this resource for agencies and their clients and for recognizing the critical role that travel agents play in today’s travel ecosystem,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO.
“We look forward to building on our strong relationship with the State Department’s leadership to use this and other resources to ensure that Americans traveling abroad are informed and protected before, during and after their trips.”
READ MORE: New Survey Reveals Agent Labor Trends and Regulations
On behalf of the State Department, Ogniana Ivanova-Sriram, outreach officer at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, noted an uptick in the use of travel agents and the department’s hopes that the site will encourage more people to travel.
"According to industry reports, in 2016, over 20 percent of the traveling U.S. public turned to travel professionals to book their international trips," said Ivanova-Sriram.
"By creating this targeted site with a compilation of commonly searched information at the agent’s fingertips, we hope that our tips for safe and secure travel will reach a wider audience of U.S. citizens going on an international trip."