ⓘ Tour operator

                                     

ⓘ Tour operator

A tour operator typically combines tour and travel components to create a package holiday. They advertise and produce brochures to promote their products, holidays and itineraries.

The most common example of a tour operators product would be a flight on a charter airline plus a transfer from the airport to a hotel and the services of a local representative, all for one price. each tour operators may specialise in destinations, e.g. Italy, activities and experiences, e.g. skiing, or a combination thereof.

The original raison dêtre of tour operating was the difficulty for ordinary folk of making arrangements in far-flung places, with problems of language, currency and communication. The advent of the Internet has led to a rapid increase in self-packaging of holidays. However, tour operators still have their competence in arranging tours for those who do not have time to do DIY holidays, and specialize in large group events and meetings such as conferences or seminars. Also, tour operators still exercise contracting power with suppliers and influence over other entities tourism boards and other government authorities in order to create packages and special group departures for destinations that might otherwise be difficult and expensive to visit.

The three major tour operator associations in the U.S. are the National Tour Association NTA, the United States Tour Operators Association USTOA, and the American Bus Association ABA. In Europe, there are the European Tour Operators Association ETOA, and in the UK, the Association of British Travel Agents ABTA and the Association of Independent Tour Operators AITO. The primary association for receptive North American inbound tour operators is the International Inbound Travel Association.