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suspect they have already moved on
to another career.”
But he added, given the changes of
the last few years, “I’m sure there are
days for many travel agents when they
question their decision to enter the
field — and who can blame them?”
Christine Rowan, of Christine’s
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Travel, Visalia, Calif., agrees. She said
there are elements of all three categories in her attitude toward her
Rowan started in the agency business in 1969 because she loved to
travel and found it fascinating and
educational. She has been partners
with her parents at the agency since
Rowan acknowledges it’s been a
bumpy ride but believes the agency
business is stronger than ever.
“I was satisfied with the business
until 1995 when the airlines started to
cut commissions. It was a slap in the
face. They told us we weren’t worth
what they paid us. However, my agency had to change to stay around and,
in the long run, we have become very
proficient at selling tours and cruises.
Most of our business was commercial
Scott Pinheiro, president of Santa
Cruz (Calif.) Travel, is a second-gen-eration agency owner (his mother is
former ASTA President Jeanne Epping) who says he doesn’t encounter
a lot of Searchers.
“The people I know are enjoying
what they do and proud to be travel
professionals,” he said.
Still, he can understand that agents
might look to other careers. It’s natural, he says. “In talking with friends in
other industries — health, food, insurance or whatever — they all have
concerns and issues. Everyone thinks
about doing something else at some
Mike MacNair, president and chief
executive of MacNair Travel Management in Alexandria, Va., is a self-de-fined Careerist.
“I’m a businessman first,” he said.
“I happen to be in travel.”
MacNair, however, has his own definitions: “I put people into two categories,” he said. “There is the ‘can’t we
all just go back to the good old days’
group. They tend to forget that we’re
The second group, he said, looks for
“the exciting stuff in the future. There
aren’t enough of us in that group.”