February 02, 2022

U.S. Travel Agency Sales Recover in 2021

Yearly Sales, Passenger Trips Grow Despite December Month-over-Month Downturn

Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) has released data showing ARC-accredited travel agency air ticket sales totaled $39.8 billion in 2021, a 69% increase from the $23 billion total in 2020. The number of passenger trips in 2021 grew by 50% year over year, totaling 174 million compared to 116 million in 2020.

Results comparing December 2021 to December 2020 showed:

  • Sales totaled $3.1 billion in December 2021, a 196% year-over-year increase.
  • Total passenger trips settled by ARC increased 103% year over year from 6.5 million to 13.2 million.
  • U.S. domestic passenger trips increased 116% to 9.2 million, while international passenger trips increased 79% to 4.1 million.
  • The average U.S. round-trip ticket price was $460, a 37% increase from $336 in December 2020. The December 2021 price was down 4% from pre-pandemic levels in the same month; this is the closest average ticket prices have been to 2019 levels since February 2020.

Despite year-over-year growth trends, December’s results marked a month-over-month decrease compared to November 2021:

  • Total sales decreased 30%.
  • Total passenger trips were down 21%.
  • U.S. domestic trips decreased 20%.
  • International trips decreased 24%.

“The end-of-year decrease we typically see in sales and trips was more pronounced this year with consumers worried about the omicron variant,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of global sales, marketing, operations and customer experience at ARC. “Total sales showed a similar decrease in the late summer as delta variant case counts grew. We expect a continued recovery across air travel in 2022, with online travel agencies recovering to pre-pandemic levels this spring as consumers continue to power the recovery.”

Copyright 2022 Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC). All rights reserved. From https://www2.arccorp.com.

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