Travel agencies

Travel agencies overwhelmed with customers are understaffed

Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport is packed with international travelers on July 20. [YONHAP]

Travel agencies are experiencing severe labor shortages, which could weigh on expectations that travel will resume ahead of the summer holidays.

Significant layoffs during the pandemic have caused a sharp drop in the number of traveling employees.

Travel agencies offer different ways to motivate their current employees and are actively recruiting new employees.

Yellow Balloon Tour has announced it will raise wages and offer more benefits to boost motivation, according to a travel agency spokesperson. The new benefits will be applied from August, but specific details on their salary increase were not disclosed.

Hana Tour is hiring new employees in key divisions including sales, marketing and finance. This is the company’s first major recruitment session in three years.

“We are currently waiting to announce the final list of people who have been awarded the position,” a Hana Tour spokesperson said.
“We are going to hire about 80 employees.

Despite efforts to retain employees, it may still be difficult for these companies to overcome the current labor shortage.

In the case of the Yellow Balloon Tour, about half of its employees voluntarily left the company due to extended leave caused by the pandemic. The company had some 600 employees in 2019, but that number has now fallen to 300.

About half of Hana Tour and Mode Tour employees quit their jobs.

Meanwhile, the demand for international travel is increasing sharply. International travelers who used Hana Tour reached 84,911 in the first half and 40,826 for Mode Tour. Both companies are experiencing high growth rates compared to last year, but it will still take time for these companies to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Situations are improving, but the world has not fully recovered from the pandemic, and travel agencies are reluctant to suddenly recruit large numbers of employees.

“We need a lot of workers for immediate tasks at the moment, but we receive job applications every time we have to cover the place,” said a spokesperson for a travel agency.

“Other competing companies even take experienced workers and offer higher wages.”

The tourism sector is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. For these reasons, employees who leave travel agencies decide to leave the travel industry permanently.

BY YOO JI-YOEN [[email protected]]