Amadeus has come a long way in the last 30 years, and so have travel agents across Africa.
As Amadeus celebrates its 30th birthday, we decided to chat to some of our travel agent partners across Africa. This week, we chatted to Edem Baëta, Operations Manager for Expertravel & Tours Limited – HRG Ghana about his experiences over the past 30 years in travel.
What have been the main changes in the way people travel 30 years ago and now?
Technology has aided in the provision of information as well as trip planning, therefore the use of travel agents becomes more obsolete each year unless the agent provides good value for money.
What are you missing about the ‘good old times’ of travel 30 years ago? (the good, the bad and the ugly).
30 years ago, terrorism was not experienced on such big scale as it is today, therefore safety and security plays a role, when considering where to travel and which airline to fly with these days.
What are you definitely not missing about the ‘good old days’?
Old aircraft that lacked interesting In-Flight Entertainment. I am definitely not missing old aircraft with just one TV in Economy Class and I’m also not missing the smoking on board! LOL!
Which three technologies have made the most impact on travel in the past 30 years?
– Global distribution systems
– Online booking tools
– Mobile travel chat facilities
What has been the scariest, funnest, most exciting development in travel over the past 30 years?
LOL! I’m not sure about the scariest and funniest developments, but the most useful development has been the online booking tools.
How has the role of the travel agent changed over the last 30 years?
Travel Agents have evolved into Travel Management companies. It is not just about making bookings, selling destinations and issuing tickets anymore. More emphasis is now placed on the management aspect with expense and client relationship management playing a key role in keeping customers happy.
What were the biggest fears in the travel industry 30 years ago? How has the industry dealt with these fears?
The biggest fear was high fares and Airlines taking away commissions. The industry has dealt with it by negotiating airline deals to remain price competitive and charging service fees to replace commissions that airlines have taken away.
A bit more about yourself: where were you 30 years ago? What were your dreams at that time? Have you accomplished your goals? What are your dreams for the next 30 years?
30 years ago, I was a starry eyed 8-year old who dreamt of being a pilot or an aeronautical engineer. 30 years on, I have worked with a couple of airlines as well as provide reports on the African Aviation industry.
Where do you see yourself in 30 years?
I can see myself travelling more, delving a bit more in philanthropy, and being CEO of a number of disruptors in the African airline and travel industry.