SIC 4729

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in arranging passenger transportation, not elsewhere classified, such as ticket offices, not operated by transportation companies, for railroads, buses, ships, and airlines.

NAICS Code(s)

488999 (All Other Support Activities for Transportation)

561599 (All Other Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the travel arrangement and reservation services as a whole, of which this industry is a part, generated $27.7 billion in revenue in 2001. The independent establishments in this category engage in businesses ranging from the sale of cruise line tickets to the organization of vanpools or carpools. These establishments, however, are not affiliated with the passenger carriers or transportation companies to whose services they provide access. They only sell the tickets for passage via various means of transportation. Another sector of business activity for the industry involves the organization of car or van transportation for certain groups. Clients for these types of establishments may include individuals with disabilities who need transportation and are not able to use public or personal transportation; elderly individuals; or those for whom other forms of transportation are not available or feasible.

The industry is influenced by trends and demo-graphics within the United States and foreign travel markets. By the mid-1990s, U.S. travelers took nearly 1.1 billion personal trips annually. This figure showed a marked decline after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but the travel industry as a whole was recovering as of 2003. In addition to U.S. travelers, the industry benefits from international tourism in America. Expanding international tourism—one of the largest sources of foreign dollars flowing into the U.S. economy—was expected to continue to benefit this industry.

The industry is predominantly serviced by either smaller, more specialized firms or larger companies engaged primarily in other lines of business. The 2001 industry leader was Las Vegas-based, with $112 million in revenue and 200 employees. Second was Boston Coach Inc. of Everett, Massachusetts, with $90 million in revenue and 1,200 employees.

E-commerce and the Internet helped this industry to expand in the 2000s. gives Internet-users the ability to bid on prices on non-committed travel accommodations for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, and other travel-related services, free of charge. In 2002 Priceline acquired Lowestfare and added the company to its name-your-own-price travel services. Priceline posted 2003 sales of $863.7 million with just 293 employees.

Further Reading

Baker, Deborah J., ed. Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003.

Hoover's Company Fact Sheet. " Inc." 22 March 2004. Available from .

"Priceline Buys Lowestfare Name." Travel Weekly, 10 June 2002.

U.S. Census Bureau. Transportation Annual Survey. 8 March 2004. Available from .

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economic and Employment Projections. 11 February 2004. Available from .

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