What Is A Tour Operator?

When looking to work in the travel industry the big decision is between whether you want to be a tour operator or a travel agent. So, what is a tour operator?

Definition of a Tour Operator

A tour operator controls, books and devises the whole trip. They create a package holiday by combining all elements such as hotel, airport transfers, activities, restaurants, tours and such like. A tour may not include all of these elements, the list is purely an example.

The Difference between a tour operator and a travel agent is that a tour operator makes the package and can sell direct to consumer. A travel agent sells the packages created to the consumer.

In essence, the different roles do what they say on the label-

A tour operator – operates the tour

A travel agent – is purely an agent for holidays selling tours that are provided.

Creating a Package Holiday

Tour operators create a package holiday. The Definition of a Package Holiday means the arranged combination of at least two of the following components:

  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Other tourist services that account for a significant proportion of the package.

The most common package holidays that the consumer sees are accommodation and flights, accommodation and airport transfer or entire bespoke tours. A tour operator does not always sell flights, they can also be purely ground-based.

Cycling holidays, yoga retreats, wellness holidays, detox retreats, skiing holidays, hiking breaks, theatre breaks, cookery escapes are all examples. This list is far from exhaustive.

All package holidays are subject to Package Travel Regulations.

Niche Tour Operators

The reason tour operating began was to offer packages to untouched parts of the world. The layman didn’t have access to make arrangements in less well-known areas of the world. In today’s world we have the internet and so the world has become very small and incredibly accessible. However, there is a bigger demand for niche tour operators today than ever before.

The travel industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and travel is now seen as a necessity in people’s lives, especially millennials. Niche tour operators offer some fabulously unusual trips such as seeing orangutans in Borneo to driving holidays in Albania to photography tours in the North Pole – every corner of the world can be discovered. It is an incredibly exciting time for the travel industry. The question may not simply be what a tour operator is, but what they can offer.

Starting As A Tour Operator

If you are looking to start as a tour op. there are a plethora of options to enable you to develop and expand your business – more so than ever before. The fundamental point of running your business successfully is to appreciate that consumer protection is the key in travel.

If you’d like to discuss this further, please get in contact with one of Protected Trust Services’ (PTS) lovely staff members by calling 0207 190 9988. Or, you can visit our member support and travel trust account pages to learn more about how we protect you.

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