travel, as reflected in the nation’s low
savings rate and high levels of credit-
Eileen Gauthier, a home-based
agent in Mission Viejo, Calif., said
her younger “midrange” clients seem
unconcerned about drawing down
their savings to pay for travel.
She said it’s as if they’re thinking,
“I’ve depleted my savings but, oh
well, I’ll build it back up again.”
Taxes, fees and surcharges don’t
dampen sales either, Gauthier said.
“What I have experienced in my
28 years as a travel agent is that every
time there’s been a [new] tax or add-on, the consumer just ignores it. They
just go, ‘How much is the total?’
“I’m looking at the amount of tax
on international tickets, which has
“People go, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of
tax.’ But I’ve never had someone say,
‘That’s too much; I’m not going.’
“I don’t see it stopping,” Gauthier
said of the healthy sales pace she was
SELL, SELL, SELL
Salvatore Castoria agrees.
At summer’s end, Castoria, a retail
agent in Matawan, N.J., was headed
for a banner year.
“More and more people are traveling. I’m getting more and more expensive cruises and high-end type of
tours. I’ve been busy,” said Castoria,
who in September closed his brick-and-mortar agency of 25 years and
reopened as a home-based agent.
Even in his market, which he characterized as middle-income and
below, Castoria was selling more
Europe than in the past and more
He cited a recent $8,000 booking
for a Tauck World Discovery tour
and an Aruba vacation he sold last
winter to a group of 15, who dished
out about $5,000 per couple, among
“Evidently,” he said, “people have