The decline of the agent appears to have been exaggerated alongside the fall of the package holiday.
In its latest survey of the trade, Mintel reports: "There is a large bedrock of demand for travel agents' services."
Mintel estimates the total number of overseas holidays from the UK last year at just over 46 million, of which 21 million were sold by agents.
However, it questions reports of a revival on the high street, although it notes "growing dissatisfaction with the online experience".
Citing a survey of 25,000 consumers and the channel used to book their last holiday, Mintel suggests just 23% booked with an agent in 2008 compared with 36% in 2004. By contrast, 53% booked online, up from 26%.
However, when the survey looked at the method of booking, it found 45% used an agent and 21% an operator, while 44% booked a flight or accommodation direct.
The figures total more than 100% because some holidays involve more than one booking.
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