The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has launched a website for travel agents that includes information and links that agents might find useful in handling their clients' travel needs.

The site has links to travel alerts and warnings as well as information on passports, traveling with a pet, preparing for a trip abroad and emergency assistance abroad. There are links to the TSA PreCheck and Global Entry programs and information for cruise passengers.

ASTA -- which frequently works with the Department of State by hosting employees for webinars and conferences, among other endeavors -- praised the new site.

"ASTA commends the State Department for creating this resource for agencies and their clients and for recognizing the critical role that travel agents play in today's travel ecosystem," ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement.

Ogniana Ivanova-Sriram, outreach officer at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, said, "According to industry reports, in 2016 over 20% of the traveling U.S. public turned to travel professionals to book their international trips. By creating this targeted site with a compilation of commonly searched information at the agent's fingertips, we hope that our tips for safe and secure travel will reach a wider audience of U.S. citizens going on an international trip."

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI