What is a Travel Agent?
Let's first define the word travel and the word agent as the starting point for answering the question of what is a travel agent.
The word travel of course reflects to the act of going from one place to another. And, according to Webster's New World College Dictionary, the word agent returns to one who acts for another. Also, a travel agent acts for both the supplier and the purchaser of travel and travel related services .
Therefore, the question of what is a travel agent is sometimes answered best by saying that:
A travel agent is one who arranges the sale and purchase of all forms, categories and types of transportation, accommodations, tours, and trips.
A travel agency (or bureau) is the name used by businesses that engage in arranging the sale and purchase of travel and travel related services. Travel agents work as employees or they can work independently.
If travel is viewed as the legs of the tourism industry, then the community of travel agents is viewed as the indispensable backbone of that industry.
But, there is a new kid on the block and that new kid is the Internet (World Wide Web). You might say that the use of the internet to arrange travel services is a different kind of travel agent, or travel agency depending on your view.
It is difficult to say if the internet will eventually replace travel agents as the "backbone" of the tourism industry. But, before you decide on how you will make travel arrangements take a look at some additional information that may influence your view on using travel agents.