The rationale behind a travel agency consortium in Australia announced Thursday by Flight Centre Travel Group mirrors the major dynamics impacting travel agencies and supports the company's diversification. Group members serving both business and leisure travelers would use Flight Centre as a platform.

Broadly speaking, the "invitation-only" Link Travel Group follows on the widespread desire to better serve small business clients and high-end vacationers. Small travel agencies have much of those markets, but they're under pressure. Airline commission reductions and preferences for new kinds of distribution connections make it difficult for small agencies . . .

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