What Does a Tour Operator Do?

Find out what a Tour Operator does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Tour Operator.

tour operator description

The Tour Operator plays an essential role in the travel and tourism industry by designing, organizing, and conducting tours and travel packages for individuals or groups. They ensure that the travel experience is seamless, enjoyable, and enriching, taking care of logistics such as transportation, accommodation, and itinerary planning. By maintaining strong relationships with various stakeholders including hotels, guides, and transport services, they are able to curate experiences that meet the diverse needs and preferences of travelers. Their expertise in understanding destinations, cultural nuances, and local attractions enables them to create packages that offer more than just a visit, but a deep dive into the essence of the place. Through meticulous planning and coordination, the Tour Operator ensures that each journey is memorable, safe, and aligned with the expectations of their clients.

Tour Operator Job Duties

  • Design and develop diverse tour packages to meet the interests and requirements of different groups of tourists, including itinerary planning, accommodation selection, and transportation arrangements.
  • Negotiate contracts with service providers such as hotels, transportation companies, and activity providers to secure the best rates and services for tours.
  • Market and promote tour packages through various channels, including online platforms, travel expos, and partnerships with travel agencies, to attract potential customers.
  • Provide detailed pre-tour information to clients, including travel tips, itinerary details, and necessary preparations, to ensure they are well-prepared for the trip.
  • Lead and manage tours, ensuring all aspects of the tour run smoothly, from coordinating transportation to managing schedules and addressing any issues that arise.
  • Offer insightful and engaging commentary on the cultural, historical, and natural significance of tour destinations to enhance the client’s experience.
  • Handle financial transactions related to the tour, including collecting payments from clients, managing budget allocations for different aspects of the tour, and settling accounts with service providers.
  • Collect feedback from clients post-tour to assess the quality of the experience and identify areas for improvement in future tour offerings.

Tour Operator Salary & Outlook

Tour Operator salaries vary based on experience, niche market expertise (e.g., adventure, luxury, cultural tours), language skills, and the complexity of tours managed. Additionally, the size and reputation of the employing company, along with the individual’s negotiation skills and client satisfaction rates, significantly influence earnings.

  • Median Annual Salary: $51,975 ($24.99/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $80,500 ($38.7/hour)

The employment of tour operators is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing global travel demand, a rising interest in unique, personalized travel experiences, and the expansion of the middle class in emerging markets. Tour operators, adept at crafting tailored itineraries and navigating complex travel logistics, are essential in meeting these evolving consumer preferences.

Tour Operator Job Requirements

Education: A Tour Operator typically has diverse educational backgrounds, with many having completed some college courses, often in tourism, hospitality, or business management. High school diploma holders also qualify, ideally with subjects focused on geography, history, and languages. Those with Bachelor’s or Associate’s degrees usually major in travel, tourism management, or related fields, enhancing their understanding of global cultures, travel regulations, and customer service essentials. Education in marketing and communication is also beneficial for this role.

Experience: Tour operators often come from diverse backgrounds, with many entering the field with minimal to moderate experience. A significant portion starts with less than a year’s experience, indicating on-the-job training is common and crucial. This training encompasses customer service, itinerary planning, and safety protocols. Some individuals transition into the role with no prior experience, learning entirely through structured training programs offered by employers. Experience in travel planning, group management, and cultural knowledge is beneficial, highlighting the importance of adaptability and a keen interest in travel and culture. Continuous learning and skill development are key components of succeeding as a tour operator.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses for Tour Operators may vary by location but generally include a business license and, in some cases, a tour operator license. Specialized certifications such as the Certified Tour Professional (CTP) offered by the National Tour Association can enhance credibility but are not universally required. No specific certifications or licenses are universally mandated across all regions or types of tour operations.

Tour Operator Skills

Itinerary Planning: Selecting destinations and activities that align with clients’ preferences and comfort levels is crucial for tour operators. They must have a comprehensive understanding of local attractions, cultural nuances, and logistical considerations to craft journeys that are both leisurely and adventurous, ensuring a seamless and enriching travel experience.

Risk Management: Tour operators are tasked with identifying potential hazards and taking preventative actions to safeguard their clients’ safety and satisfaction. A meticulous attention to detail and the ability to foresee and address risks, ranging from natural disasters to health emergencies, are imperative for ensuring secure travel experiences.

Supplier Negotiation: Achieving favorable terms with hotels, transportation providers, and local attractions is critical for the profitability and competitiveness of tour packages. Effective negotiation skills, informed by an understanding of market trends and strong relationships, are necessary to secure deals that benefit both the company and its clients.

Customer Service Excellence: Handling inquiries, complaints, and special requests with patience and positivity is essential. Tour operators must efficiently resolve issues and proactively enhance the customer’s experience, transforming potential challenges into opportunities for outstanding service.

Destination Knowledge: Deep familiarity with the destinations offered is required, encompassing local customs, language nuances, and lesser-known attractions. This enables the creation of tours that are engaging, culturally enriching, and provide travelers with a memorable and authentic experience.

Multilingual Communication: The ability to communicate fluently in multiple languages facilitates effective interaction with a diverse clientele. It ensures that all participants fully comprehend the itinerary, safety instructions, and cultural nuances, allowing for more personalized and engaging experiences that foster a deeper connection between tourists and their destinations.

Tour Operator Work Environment

Tour operators often find themselves in a dynamic work environment, where the office can range from a traditional desk setting to the great outdoors, depending on the day’s needs. The workspace is equipped with standard office tools and specialized software for planning and booking tours, requiring a good grasp of technology.

Work hours can be irregular, with peak seasons dictating longer days and the possibility of work on weekends and holidays. The dress code tends to be casual but may require formal attire for meetings with partners or clients.

The role is inherently social, involving constant interaction with clients, vendors, and team members, making a collaborative and adaptable culture crucial. Travel is a significant component, offering opportunities to explore new destinations but also demanding flexibility and resilience.

Health and safety are paramount, especially when conducting tours, necessitating knowledge of first aid and emergency procedures. The pace can be fast, balancing multiple tours and clients, requiring excellent organizational skills and a calm demeanor.

Professional development is encouraged, with many companies offering training in new destinations, languages, or tour management software, supporting career growth within the industry.

Advancement Prospects

Tour operators can advance their careers by specializing in niche markets, such as eco-tourism or adventure travel, to cater to specific client interests and stand out in the industry. Developing a deep understanding of a particular region or type of travel can lead to becoming a sought-after expert, potentially opening opportunities for higher-level positions within larger travel companies or the foundation for a successful independent business.

Progression can also come from embracing technology, utilizing digital marketing, and social media to enhance customer engagement and expand market reach. This digital proficiency can lead to roles in digital strategy or marketing within the travel sector.

Leadership roles are another advancement path. With experience, a tour operator can transition into managerial positions, overseeing teams, or entire operations. This might involve strategic planning, financial management, and business development responsibilities, contributing to the broader success of a travel organization.

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tour operator description

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What is a tour operator and how does it work?

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The tour operator is an integral component of tourism , yet many people are unclear about what a tour operator actually is or what they do.

In this article I will explain what a tour operator is and why tour operators are important. I will also talk about what the difference between a tour operator and a travel agent is, as well as the different types of tour operators.

What is a tour operator?

Definitions of tour operator, importance of tour operators, the difference between a tour operator and a travel agent, what does a tour operator do, products and services sold by tour operators, inbound tour operators, outbound tour operators, domestic tour operators, ground tour operators, the association of independent tour operators, the tour operator: to conclude.

Tour operators are inextricably linked to the package holiday model. The tour operator is the person or organisation who creates the package. A travel agency is then used to sell the package holiday.

In the chain of distribution , the tour operator is represented by the term ‘wholesaler’. This is because the tour operator is responsible for purchasing products of services in bulk and then redistributing them as a packaged product to consumers.

To put it simply, a tour operator is the person or organisation who takes the individual elements of a holiday (e.g. transfer, hotel, transport) and packages these together.

The types of package vary. Most commonly, tour operators are associated with mass tourism and the traditional package holiday market. However, tour operators do also play an important role in the production of niche tourism products and services too.

If you’re looking for a formal definition of a tour operator with a reputable source, you may want to reference Polyther, who in 1993, defined the tour operator as;

‘[an organisation or person] who has the responsibility of putting the tour ingredients together, marketing it, making reservations and handling actual operation’.

Similarly, Holloway (1992) states that;

tour operations undertake a distinct function in the tourism industry, they purchase separate e lements of tourism products/services and combine them into a package tour which they sell directly or indirectly to the tourists .

The Organisation for Economic and Cultural Development (OECD) define a tour operator as follows;

‘Tour operators are businesses that combine two or more travel services (e.g., transport, accommodation, meals, entertainment, sightseeing) and sell them through travel agencies or directly to final consumers as a single product (called a package tour) for a global price. The components of a package tour might be pre-established or can result from an “a la carte” procedure, in which the visitor decides the combination of services he/she wishes to acquire.’

Tour operators are an important part of the tourism industry .

Tour operators make the logistics of organising a holiday much easier for the consumer. This makes people more likely to travel, more often.

Tour operators have a lot of power. If they choose to sell holidays in a particular location, for example, then that location will receive many of the associated positive and negative economic impacts of tourism .

Tour operators are often vertically or horizontally integrated with other organisations, such as travel agents and airlines. This allows for easier management and distribution of products.

Tour operators typically build holidays en masse. This means that economies of scale play a key role in driving down prices- the more you produce the cheaper the product becomes! This is obviously beneficial to the consumer and helps travel agents to have a competitive advantage when selling holidays.

Many people are not aware that a travel agent and a tour operator are actually two totally different organisations and they are not aware of the difference between a tour operator and a travel agent.

In fact, it is quite easy to understand this difference!

A tour operator is the organisation which puts the different elements of a holiday together. And the travel agent is the organisation who sells it to the consumer.

Whilst this differentiation is pretty easy to comprehend, it is easy to understand why people get tour operators and travel agents confused. This is largely because many organisations will operate under the same company. For example, TUI has a tour operator and a travel agent (and an airline too). As a result, many people do not realise that in actual fact, there are two separate organisations doing two separate jobs.

parked boat

Ultimately, a tour operator is responsible for putting the different elements of a holiday together into a commodified package.

To do this, there are a number of different roles and responsibilities that tour operator staff will have. This includes:

  • Data analysis- which destinations will sell best, how many holidays should they sell etc
  • Assessing suitability of accommodation, transfer and transport options
  • Liaising with stakeholders e.g. coach operators, airlines, hoteliers and resort representatives
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Confirming reservations with airlines/hotels
  • Managing and responding to customer feedback
  • Undertaking market research
  • Production of marketing material
  • Providing pricing information
  • Handling bookings, invoicing and issuing of tickets
  • Working with travel consultants from different travel agencies to put holiday packages together

Tour operators have a number of products and services that they sell, depending on their specific business model, business intentions and target market. A tour operator will typically package together two of more elements to form a packaged product, which is then sold at an inclusive price.

Examples include:

  • Package holidays
  • Accommodation
  • Information on destinations
  • Representative service in resorts

Types of tour operator

Tour operators come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large, multinational organisations and other are small, independent business.

Different types of tour operators develop products for different types of tourism . This can include the mass market, niche tourism market, special interest tourism, the luxury market, tailor-made products and dynamic packages .

great wall of china

There are four different types of tour operators, which I will explain below.

  • Inbound Tour Operators
  • Outbound Tour Operators
  • Domestic Tour Operators
  • Ground Operators

The tour operator. types of tour operators.

An inbound tour operator is one who facilitates inbound tourism .

The aim of an inbound tour operator is to bring tourists in to a particular country or countries.

Inbound tour operators will often collaborate with local travel agencies and transport operators to facilitate travel arrangements for their customers.

Inbound tour operator example: A group of German tourists conduct a tour of China, encompassing a visit to Shanghai , Hangzhou and the Yellow Mountains . The tour operator who organises their travel is Chinese-based company China Highlights . This company is based locally in China and they offer local, Chinese tours.

An outbound tour operator is one who facilitates outbound tourism .

The aim of an outbound tour operator is to send tourists out of a particular country or countries.

Outbound tour operators will often collaborate with foreign travel agencies and transport operators to facilitate travel arrangements for their customers.

Outbound tour operator example : A family of four from Liverpool, UK want to book an all-inclusive summer sun holiday in Alicante. They book through TUI , the largest tour operator in Britain, who specialises in outbound travel. They are based in the UK, but they work with foreign partners to facilitate holidays overseas.

A domestic tour operator is one who facilitates domestic tourism .

The aim of a domestic tour operator is to organise travel within a particular country or countries.

Domestic tour operators will often collaborate with domestic travel agencies and transport operators to facilitate travel arrangements for their customers. Domestic tour operators will often also serve the inbound tourism market.

Domestic tour operator example : A group of twenty-something boys from Chicago want to travel to Florida for the spring break holiday. They want to do a tour of the local attractions in the area and have some time to relax on the beach . They organise their travel through the tour company, Trek America . Staff at this company are experts in domestic travel within the USA.

A ground tour operator is an organisation who dopes the ground work as grass roots level.

Many tour operators do not have connections in all places around the world, therefore they build a network of connections to help them run their business.

Essentially, some of the work is passed on to a third party, known as a ground operator. This work may include negotiating local contracts, liaising with local suppliers and providing market data, amongst other things.

This is especially common for small tour operators.

You may also hear ground tour operators referred to as handling operators or handling agents.

Ground tour operator example : A backpacker wants to ‘give something back’ and book a volunteer tourism holiday in Kerala. She wanted to use a known and trusted tour operator to book her trip so she booked it with Intrepid Travel . Intrepid Travel create and sell adventure holidays all over the world, and it is impossible for them to have contacts and every staff in every corner of the globe. Therefore they work with local ground operators, who do the work on the ground. In this instance, the ground organisation is Iris Travel – a tour operator based in Kerela, India.

The Association of Independent Tour Operators , abbreviated as AITO, is a travel industry trade group (like  ABTA  or ATOL) based in Britain. They launched in 1976.

The AITO represents around 120 independent  tour operators  across 200 countries.

These tour operators provide access to a huge range of activities including city breaks, safaris, luxury holidays and much more. The AITO is based in Twickenham, south-west London.

The AITO does a variety of things. Most importantly, you can be reassured that your holiday is well-protected thanks to the Association of Independent Tour Operators.

They assess every member financially as well as by their own business practice code before granting membership; this means that you are guaranteed clear and accurate descriptions of holidays as well as tour standards that are consistently monitored.

Tour operators are an important part of the tourism industry, and with AITO, you have added security when booking your travels through a tour operator. Hopefully after reading this article you are now confident with what a tour operator is, how these organisations work and the different types of tour operators operating the market.

If you liked this article, why not take a look at these too?

  • Types of travel agents | Understanding tourism
  • What is e-tourism and how is it changing travel?
  • 10 jobs in travel and tourism that will be BIG in 2022 and beyond
  • What does the World Travel and Tourism Council do?

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Tour Operator Job Description Template

Looking for a Tour Operator to join your team? Our job description template can help you find the perfect candidate. As a Tour Operator, you will be responsible for designing, planning, and executing tours and travel packages for clients. You should have excellent communication skills, in-depth knowledge of different destinations, and be able to provide exceptional customer service. With our template, you can easily outline the skills, qualifications, and responsibilities required for the position. Start your search for the ideal Tour Operator with our customizable job description template.

Tour Operator Job Description

A tour operator is responsible for designing, organizing, and selling tour packages for individuals and groups. They work in collaboration with tour guides, transport service providers, and accommodation professionals to ensure a seamless travel experience for their customers.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Design, plan and implement tour packages according to customer requirements
  • Collaborate with service providers such as hotels, transport companies, and tour guides
  • Negotiate rates with service providers to ensure a competitive price for customers
  • Advertise and market tour packages to attract potential customers
  • Provide customers with all necessary information about their travel plans including visa requirements and travel insurance
  • Assist customers in booking flights and arranging transportation to and from airports
  • Ensure customer satisfaction by offering exceptional customer service throughout the tour


  • Bachelor's degree in travel and tourism, business or related field
  • Proven experience in the tourism industry is a plus
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational and planning skills with attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and travel reservation software
  • Fluency in multiple languages is an asset


As a tour operator, you understand the importance of hiring the right personnel for the success of your business. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a compelling job posting to attract the right candidates. In this article, we'll guide you through the process of creating an effective tour operator job posting.

1. Determine the Job Title and Job Summary

To create a compelling job posting, it's crucial to have a clear job title and job summary. The job title should accurately reflect the role's responsibilities, and the job summary should provide an overview of the job's purpose and essential duties.

  • Job title: Tour Operator
  • Job summary: We are seeking an experienced tour operator to join our team. As a tour operator, you will be responsible for creating and coordinating tours for our clients, ensuring that they have a seamless and enjoyable experience.

2. List the Job Responsibilities

The job responsibilities section is where you outline what the role entails. Be specific when listing these responsibilities as they give potential candidates an idea of what the job requires.

  • Create and coordinate itineraries for various tours
  • Manage bookings and liaise with suppliers and vendors
  • Ensure that tours operate within set budgets
  • Provide exceptional customer service to clients

3. List the Required Skills and Qualifications

Having a clear list of skills and qualifications required for the role helps filter out applicants that may not be a good fit for the job. As a tour operator, you should consider the following skills and qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Tourism, Hospitality, or a related field
  • At least two years' experience in tour coordinating or event management
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Strong communication, customer service, and negotiation skills

4. Include Information on Compensation and Benefits

Providing information on compensation and benefits can help attract top talent for the role. In this section, be sure to include details about salary, benefits, and any other incentives that come with the job.

Creating a compelling tour operator job posting can attract the best candidates for the job. Be clear, specific, and transparent about the role, responsibilities, qualifications, and compensation. Doing this could be the first step in finding the perfect candidate for your tour operating business.

Frequently Asked Questions on Creating Tour Operator Job Postings

1. what are the essential components of a tour operator job posting.

A Tour Operator job posting should have a clear and concise job title, a brief job summary, the key responsibilities of the role, the requirements of the position, and any relevant details relating to the company, compensation, and benefits.

2. Should I include the qualifications and experience required for the Tour Operator job?

Yes, it is crucial to include the qualifications and experience required for the Tour Operator job. It can include the level of education, years of experience in the tourism industry, any necessary certifications, and other skills required for the role.

3. How should I structure the Tour Operator job posting?

It would help if you started with a strong title followed by a summary of the role, responsibilities, and qualifications required. This should be followed by a detailed description, and any relevant information about the company and the compensation or benefits offered.

4. What keywords should I use in my Tour Operator job posting to attract qualified candidates?

Keywords such as tourism industry, guiding, customer service, problem-solving, communication skills, travel, and organizing are vital in attracting qualified candidates.

5. Should I include a salary range in the Tour Operator job posting?

It is up to the company or the hiring manager, but it is recommended to include a salary range to attract qualified candidates and avoid wasting time on uninterested candidates.

6. What should I do to make my Tour Operator job posting stand out?

To make your Tour Operator job posting stand out, you should use an eye-catching headline, clearly state what your company provides its employees, convey your work culture, and be specific about the job responsibilities and requirements of the position.

7. How can I ensure that the Tour Operator job posting reaches the right candidates?

You should use the right online job boards, social media platforms, and targeted advertising to ensure that the Tour Operator job posting reaches the right candidates. Additionally, you can share the job posting with industry associations, schools, and tourism organizations.

8. Should I add any disclaimer in the Tour Operator job posting?

It is essential to add a disclaimer in the Tour Operator job posting to protect the company from any legal disputes. This can include a statement that the job posting does not constitute an employment contract and that the company can change the job duties and requirements at any time.

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Tour operator: job description

targetjobs editorial team

Last updated: 21 Nov 2023, 12:07

Tour operators are responsible for organising and preparing holiday tours. They follow trends in the popularity of destinations and packages, and adjust company plans accordingly.

Close-up of a globe focusing on the eastern coast of the United States.

What does a tour operator do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Due to Covid-19, you may find it difficult to gain work or experience as a tour operator. As we explain here , however, recruiters will not view time out of work due to the pandemic as a 'gap' in your CV. For guidance on searching for work during this difficult time, take a look at our advice for job hunting during a pandemic .

Responsibilities of a tour operator vary according to the time of year and size of employer, but generally include:

  • deciding how many holidays to sell each season and the resorts/countries to use
  • visiting resorts to ascertain accommodation quality and suitability
  • liaising with coach operators, airlines, hoteliers and resort reps
  • agreeing service levels, contracts and costs
  • confirming customer names with airlines/hotels
  • collecting, evaluating and responding (as appropriate) to customer feedback
  • using market research information to guide decisions
  • producing brochures and internet-based information
  • providing pricing information
  • marketing holidays to clients via travel agents, websites, brochures and television advertising
  • handling bookings, invoicing and issuing of tickets
  • predicting profits or number of bookings
  • working with travel consultants from different travel agencies to put holiday packages together
  • combining travel, accommodation and services such as sightseeing arrangements to create holiday packages.

Typical employers of tour operators

  • Private touring companies
  • Small specialist organisers
  • Major international tour operators
  • Bespoke tour designers
  • Cruise liners.

Vacancies are advertised online and in trade publications including Travel Trade Gazette and Travel Weekly , as well as their online equivalents. Networking and speculative applications are advisable. A few larger companies operate graduate training schemes. Paid summer vacation jobs may be available with some employers.

Qualifications and training required

A degree is not a standard formal requirement for this role, though it may be an advantage. Degrees in leisure, travel, tourism, management, marketing, IT, business, languages or hotel and catering management are particularly likely to be relevant. Relevant professional or vocational qualifications, such as NVQs and HNDs, may also be beneficial.

Pre-entry experience gained working with the general public or within the hotel, tourism or travel trades (particularly overseas) will strengthen your applications and improve your chances. It may be possible to start work in a tour rep, tour guide or travel agent role and then move on to a tour operator position.

Key skills for tour operators

  • A demonstrable interest in travel
  • Knowledge of key holiday destinations
  • Foreign language skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Good time management skills.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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Adventure Tour Operator Job Description [Updated for 2024]

tour operator description

In the era of exploration and adventure, the focus on Adventure Tour Operators has never been greater.

As travel trends evolve, the demand for skilled professionals who can create, manage, and ensure the safety of exciting adventure tours grows more urgent.

But let’s unravel the mystery: What’s truly expected from an Adventure Tour Operator?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the intricate world of adventure tourism,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable Adventure Tour Operator job description template, crafted for convenient posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right in.

Adventure Tour Operator Duties and Responsibilities

Adventure Tour Operators plan, organize, and conduct long-distance expeditions, travel, and tours for groups or individuals.

They ensure that travel arrangements run as smoothly as possible and control the travel preparations for their clients.

They have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Plan and organize tours, which may include transportation, accommodations, meals, and sightseeing activities
  • Communicate with clients to determine their needs and preferences
  • Research various destinations and means of travel to meet clients’ desires and budget
  • Provide clients with advice about visas or local customs, cultures, and languages
  • Respond to and resolve any issues that arise before or during the tour
  • Ensure all safety protocols and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of the tour participants
  • Perform first aid and emergency procedures, if necessary
  • Guide tour members in outdoor adventure activities such as hiking, canoeing, rafting, or rock climbing
  • Provide educational information and commentary on historical, cultural, or natural features of the tour site
  • Manage bookings and ticketing for the tour, including collection of payments

Adventure Tour Operator Job Description Template

We are seeking an enthusiastic Adventure Tour Operator to manage, plan, and conduct adventurous and exciting tour programs.

The Adventure Tour Operator responsibilities include developing engaging itineraries, managing bookings, ensuring the safety and satisfaction of tourists, and offering interactive, informative commentary about the locations visited.

Our ideal candidates are passionate about travel and outdoor activities, possess excellent organizational and leadership skills, and are committed to delivering top-notch customer service.

Ultimately, the Adventure Tour Operator’s role is to deliver an unforgettable, fun, and educational travel experience while ensuring the safety and comfort of all participants.


  • Plan and organize tours, including arranging accommodations and meals.
  • Manage bookings, inquiries, and customer complaints.
  • Guide tourists through attractions, providing informative, engaging commentary.
  • Ensure the safety of all tourists, adhering to all safety regulations.
  • Develop exciting and engaging itineraries for various adventure tours.
  • Handle financial transactions, including collecting payments and managing tour expenses.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with local vendors and service providers.
  • Keep tour members informed of logistical details and emergency procedures.
  • Maintain a friendly, positive attitude, providing excellent customer service.
  • Stay current with the latest industry trends and destination knowledge.


  • Proven work experience as a tour operator, guide, or similar role.
  • Knowledge of local attractions, history, and culture.
  • Excellent organizational and leadership skills.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • First aid and CPR certification are desirable.
  • Ability to handle emergency situations calmly and efficiently.
  • Fluency in English; knowledge of additional languages is a plus.
  • Physical fitness and the ability to participate in outdoor activities.
  • High school diploma; Bachelor’s degree in tourism or hospitality is a plus.
  • Travel allowances
  • Health insurance
  • Paid vacation
  • Flexible work hours
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Discounted or free tours

Additional Information

  • Job Title: Adventure Tour Operator
  • Work Environment: This role involves outdoor work and travel, often in various weather conditions. Some office work may also be required for planning and administrative tasks.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Tour Operations Manager or Tour Company Owner.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: Dependent on experience and nature of tours.
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time, Part-time, or Seasonal depending on the company and tour schedules.
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].

What Does an Adventure Tour Operator Do?

Adventure Tour Operators primarily work for travel and tourism agencies, although some might work independently.

They specialize in designing and coordinating adventurous and exciting travel experiences for their clients.

They plan, organize and execute adventure tours that might include activities such as hiking, biking, rafting, mountaineering, diving, safaris, and other thrilling outdoor pursuits.

They need to consider the fitness levels and interests of their clients, ensuring safety and satisfaction at all times.

Their role also involves handling logistical aspects like accommodation, transportation, permits, and equipment rental.

They are responsible for providing detailed itineraries, outlining the specific activities, durations, locations, and costs associated with the tour.

Adventure Tour Operators often work with local guides and service providers to ensure authentic and immersive experiences.

They need to be knowledgeable about the destinations they offer, including local customs, wildlife, and environmental conservation efforts.

They are also responsible for managing any potential risks or hazards, coordinating emergency response if necessary, and providing clear safety briefings to their clients before commencing any activities.

In addition, they may also be involved in marketing their tours, maintaining client relationships, and responding to reviews or feedback to continually improve their services.

Adventure Tour Operator Qualifications and Skills

An Adventure Tour Operator should possess a range of skills and qualifications to execute their job effectively, such as:

  • Physical fitness and stamina to participate in and guide various adventurous activities like hiking, trekking, rafting, etc.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact with tourists, understand their needs, and ensure their safety and enjoyment throughout the tour.
  • Knowledge and experience in first aid and emergency response to handle any mishaps or injuries during the tour.
  • Problem-solving skills to handle unexpected situations or challenges that may arise during the adventure tours.
  • Knowledge about local flora, fauna, geography, and history to provide informative and engaging descriptions during the tour.
  • Strong organizational skills to coordinate travel arrangements, manage itineraries, and ensure everything runs smoothly and on schedule.
  • Customer service skills to handle client queries, complaints, and feedback professionally and courteously.
  • Ability to work in varying weather conditions and adapt to changing environments.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and, depending on the location, additional specific certifications may be required (e.g., white-water rafting, mountaineering, etc.)

Adventure Tour Operator Experience Requirements

Adventure Tour Operators often require a mix of education, certification and experience in tourism, outdoor activities or related fields.

A basic level of experience might include 1 to 2 years of work in travel agencies, tour companies, or outdoor activity centers.

This experience should ideally involve planning and managing tours, customer service, and understanding of safety procedures.

Candidates with more than 3 years of experience have often worked in outdoor leadership roles such as camp counselor, wilderness guide, or outdoor educator.

They are often able to plan and execute adventure tours independently and have sufficient knowledge of risk management, emergency response and group dynamics.

Those with more than 5 years of experience likely have a deep understanding of the adventure tourism industry and may have specialized knowledge in certain types of tours, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, or white-water rafting.

These individuals may have also managed teams of tour guides, coordinated with local authorities or organizations, and have dealt with complex logistics or crisis situations.

In addition to field-specific experience, Adventure Tour Operators may also need certain certifications or qualifications, such as First Aid or CPR training, wilderness survival skills, or specific training related to their type of tours (e.g. certified ski instructor).

Adventure Tour Operator Education and Training Requirements

Adventure Tour Operators typically have a high school diploma or equivalent education.

Some higher education in fields like tourism, hospitality, or outdoor education can be beneficial.

They need to have a deep knowledge of the area where they operate, whether it’s local geography, history, or culture.

Many tour operators gain this knowledge through experience, either by living in the area or by working in related fields.

Some regions may require Adventure Tour Operators to have a specific license or certification to guide in certain areas or for certain activities.

Certifications in First Aid, CPR, and potentially Wilderness First Responder are often necessary, given the remote and potentially hazardous environments in which they work.

Specialized training may also be required for specific activities like rock climbing, white-water rafting, or scuba diving, each having their own certification process.

Skills in customer service and communication are essential, and while not a formal requirement, language skills can be a significant advantage in this role.

Continuing education and staying informed about changes in regulations, safety standards, and environmental conservation efforts are also important aspects of being an Adventure Tour Operator.

Adventure Tour Operator Salary Expectations

An Adventure Tour Operator can expect to earn an average salary of $42,500 (USD) per year.

However, this figure may fluctuate based on factors such as years of experience in the industry, level of expertise in specific adventure activities, location of operations, and the size and reputation of the employing tour agency.

Adventure Tour Operator Job Description FAQs

What skills does an adventure tour operator need.

Adventure Tour Operators should have excellent organizational and leadership skills, as they are responsible for planning and conducting adventure tours.

They need good communication and interpersonal skills to interact with various clients and ensure their safety and satisfaction.

Knowledge of first aid, survival techniques, and understanding of the local flora and fauna would be advantageous.

Physical fitness and the ability to handle stressful situations calmly are also crucial.

Do Adventure Tour Operators need a degree?

While a degree is not always mandatory, having a degree or certifications related to tourism, outdoor recreation, environmental science, or related fields can be helpful.

However, most companies prioritize experience and practical skills over academic qualifications.

Additional certifications like first aid, survival courses, or specific adventure sport certifications can be beneficial.

What should you look for in an Adventure Tour Operator resume?

Look for experience in organizing and leading tours, especially adventure tours.

Certifications in first aid, survival training, or specific adventure activities are a plus.

Knowledge of the local area, its ecology, and history are also useful.

Familiarity with safety regulations and emergency procedures are important.

Any evidence of physical fitness, leadership skills, and problem-solving abilities should also be considered.

What qualities make a good Adventure Tour Operator?

A good Adventure Tour Operator is physically fit, resilient, and has a passion for outdoor activities.

They are excellent leaders with strong communication skills, able to guide and motivate clients.

They are knowledgeable about safety procedures and capable of handling emergencies calmly and effectively.

Good operators also have a deep understanding and respect for nature and local cultures, and can impart this knowledge to clients in an engaging way.

Is it difficult to hire Adventure Tour Operators?

Hiring Adventure Tour Operators can be challenging due to the specific skill set required.

The role demands both physical fitness and leadership skills, along with knowledge of outdoor activities and safety procedures.

It can be hard to find candidates who possess all these traits, along with the necessary experience.

Offering competitive wages, a supportive work environment, and opportunities for career progression can attract potential candidates.

And there you have it.

Today, we have taken you on a thrilling journey into what it means to be an adventure tour operator .

Surprising, isn’t it?

It’s not just about leading people through exotic trails.

It’s about curating unforgettable experiences, one adventure at a time.

Armed with our comprehensive adventure tour operator job description template and real-world examples, you are ready for your next step.

But why limit yourself?

Explore further with our job description generator . It’s your ultimate guide to creating laser-focused listings or polishing your resume to perfection.

Every adventure is part of a bigger journey.

Let’s embark on that journey. Together.

Reasons to Become an Adventure Tour Operator (Thrills Beyond the Desk!)

How to Become an Adventure Tour Operator (Complete Guide)

Disadvantages of Being an Adventure Tour Operator (Jetlag Juggles)

Redefine Your Career Path: Fun Jobs That Are Surprisingly Lucrative

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tour operator description

The Editorial Team at is composed of certified interview coaches, seasoned HR professionals, and industry insiders. With decades of collective expertise and access to an unparalleled database of interview questions, we are dedicated to empowering job seekers. Our content meets real-time industry demands, ensuring readers receive timely, accurate, and actionable advice. We value our readers' insights and encourage feedback, corrections, and questions to maintain the highest level of accuracy and relevance.

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tour operator description

How to Be Tour Operator - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

  • How to Become
  • Job Descriptions
  • Skill & Competencies
  • Common Tools
  • Professional Organizations

The growth of the travel and tourism industry has led to a corresponding increase in the demand for tour operators. Tour operators provide services to help travelers navigate their way through their destination and plan and book their trip. This has resulted in an increased focus on providing quality customer service and a wide range of services, from pre-trip planning to post-trip follow-up.

Tour operators have become experts in the area of destination knowledge, customer service and travel technology, helping travelers find the best deals and making sure their trip is enjoyable and hassle-free. The growth of the tour operator industry has also created additional jobs in the transport, accommodation and hospitality sectors, as well as improved infrastructure in popular destinations. This has helped to stimulate local economies and create new opportunities for businesses and individuals in the tourism industry.

Steps How to Become

  • Research the Tour Operator industry to ensure you understand the business, regulations, and current trends.
  • Develop a business plan that outlines your target market, services offered, pricing structure, and marketing strategy.
  • Ensure you obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance to operate legally.
  • Secure a business location and develop a website to promote your services and accept bookings.
  • Purchase the necessary resources such as vehicles, computers, and communication equipment.
  • Develop relationships with vendors such as hotels, airlines, and other tour operators.
  • Hire employees and recruit tour guides to provide services to customers.
  • Market your business through online advertising, social media, and word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Monitor customer feedback to ensure you are providing excellent customer service and making necessary changes to enhance the customer experience.

The success of a tour operator is dependent on the ability to provide a safe, enjoyable, and cost-effective experience for travelers. To do this, they must be knowledgeable about the destinations they are offering, have strong customer service skills, and be able to book the best possible services for their customers. This includes researching hotels, flights, and attractions, being able to negotiate with vendors, and understanding the needs of their clients.

it is important for tour operators to stay up to date on industry trends and understand legal and financial regulations. By having these qualifications, tour operators can create an ideal experience for their clients that will have them coming back in the future.

You may want to check Tour Attendant , Tour Educator , and Tour Director for alternative.

Job Description

  • Travel Consultant: Responsible for providing customers with advice and information regarding travel plans, destinations, accommodations, and packages.
  • Tour Guide: Lead and provide information to tour groups at local attractions or while travelling abroad.
  • Travel Agent: Responsible for helping customers plan and arrange their travel, including tickets, hotels, car rentals, and tours.
  • Tour Manager: Responsible for organizing and overseeing the logistics of a tour, including scheduling, budgeting, and personnel management.
  • Destination Specialist: Provide detailed information about specific destinations, such as attractions, restaurants, and activities.
  • Travel Writer: Create content about travel experiences for newspapers, magazines, and websites.
  • Adventure Coordinator: Coordinate adventure activities for travelers, such as hiking, scuba diving, and safaris.
  • Cruise Director: Responsible for organizing activities and entertainment onboard a cruise ship.
  • Event Planner: Plan corporate events or other large gatherings for tour operators.
  • Marketing Manager: Promote tour operator services through advertising, public relations, and social media campaigns.

Skills and Competencies to Have

  • Knowledge of travel destinations and attractions, including popular and off-the-beaten-path locations.
  • Knowledge of local cultures, customs, and languages.
  • Ability to plan and coordinate tour itineraries.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to think on your feet and problem-solve.
  • Strong customer service and organizational skills.
  • Ability to multi-task and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in paperwork and record keeping.
  • Knowledge of budgeting and cost control principles.
  • Proficiency in using computer programs such as Microsoft Office, Excel, and Google Maps.

Being a successful tour operator requires a variety of skills. The most important skill to have is excellent customer service. Tour operators must provide a high quality of service to their customers in order to ensure a positive experience.

Good customer service involves being friendly and professional, as well as being able to answer customers’ questions and address their concerns. tour operators should be able to provide helpful advice, such as suggesting activities and places of interest that customers may enjoy. Good organizational skills are also essential, as tour operators need to be able to manage itineraries, ensure all necessary documents are in order, and coordinate with suppliers.

Finally, excellent communication skills are vital, as tour operators must be able to effectively communicate with customers, staff and suppliers in order to ensure a successful tour. All of these skills are necessary for a tour operator to be successful and provide customers with an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Tour Analyst , Tour Administrator , and Tour Guide Trainer are related jobs you may like.

Frequent Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have in the tour operator industry?
  • How familiar are you with the various destinations offered by our tour operator?
  • What strategies would you use to maximize customer satisfaction?
  • How would you handle a difficult customer situation?
  • What methods do you use to ensure a safe and secure tour environment?
  • How would you ensure that all tour details are properly communicated to customers?
  • What challenges have you faced in your previous roles as a tour operator?
  • How do you stay updated on the latest changes in the industry?
  • How would you develop new marketing strategies to increase customer bookings?
  • What do you believe is the most important quality of a successful tour operator?

Common Tools in Industry

  • Trip Planner. A tool used to plan and book trips, including transportation, accommodation, and activities (eg: Kayak).
  • Online Booking System. A software platform that allows tour operators to manage bookings, payments, and customer data (eg: Rezdy).
  • CRM Software. A customer relationship management tool used to manage customer data, communication, and sales (eg: Salesforce).
  • Tour Scheduling Software. Software used to create and manage tour schedules and itineraries (eg: TourCMS).
  • Invoicing Software. Software used to generate and send invoices to customers (eg: FreshBooks).
  • Financial Management Software. Software used to keep track of all financial transactions associated with a tour operator's business (eg: Xero).
  • Travel Insurance Platform. A platform used to purchase and manage travel insurance policies (eg: World Nomads).
  • Marketing Automation Software. A tool used to create, manage, and track marketing campaigns (eg: MailChimp).

Professional Organizations to Know

  • American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)
  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • National Tour Association (NTA)
  • Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)
  • International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)
  • Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII)
  • International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
  • Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE)
  • World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

We also have Tour Designer , Tour Coordinator , and Tour Planner jobs reports.

Common Important Terms

  • Tour Guide. A professional who provides guidance and information to travelers on a tour.
  • Tour Operator. A company that organizes and arranges tours, typically involving transportation and accommodations.
  • Itinerary. A detailed plan of a journey, including the route and stops.
  • Package Tour. An organized tour that includes transportation, accommodations, and other services such as meals and activities.
  • Destination. The place or area to which a tour is directed or undertaken.
  • Sightseeing Tour. A tour designed to visit places of interest in an area, often in an organized fashion.
  • Travel Agent. A professional who specializes in helping people plan and book their travel arrangements.
  • Transportation. Any means of getting from one place to another, such as by car, bus, train, or plane.
  • Accommodation. Lodging or other forms of shelter used during a trip, such as hotels and resorts.
  • Activity. A recreational or leisure activity undertaken on a tour, such as sightseeing, shopping, or hiking.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i find a tour operator to plan my trip.

You can find a tour operator online, by searching through travel websites, or by asking family and friends for recommendations.

What types of tours do tour operators offer?

Tour operators typically offer a wide range of tours, including day trips, sightseeing tours, adventure tours, luxury tours, and wildlife tours.

How much will a tour operator charge for their services?

The cost of a tour operator's services varies depending on the type of tour and the length of the trip. Generally speaking, tour operators usually charge a flat fee or commission for their services.

Are there any insurance policies I should consider when hiring a tour operator?

Yes, it is important to consider insurance policies when hiring a tour operator. Tour operators should be able to provide proof of insurance in case of any accidents or losses that may occur during the trip.

What paperwork is required when booking a tour with a tour operator?

When booking a tour with a tour operator, you will need to provide proof of identity, passport details, and any travel documents required for the destination. You may also need to provide credit card details for payment.

What are jobs related with Tour Operator?

  • Tour Supervisor
  • Tour Facilitator
  • Tour Promoter
  • Tour Representative
  • Tour Consultant
  • Tour Manager
  • Tour Assistant
  • Tour Producer

Web Resources

  • Tour Operators | The Franklin Institute Science Museum
  • Tour Operators | Alumni - University of Washington
  • Tour Operators – | The University of Alabama

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What is a tour operator and how to become one

A tour operator is a professional who plans and leads tours for clients. They use computer databases to research information about fares and hotel ratings. They book and operate private tours and national programs. They also supervise programmers in writing an integrated computerized travel reservation system. Tour operators educate clients about travel issues and liaise with resort representatives and airlines. They also work closely with decision-makers at local attractions to accommodate group tours. They prepare tours for clients, coordinate hotel bookings, and work closely with travel agents to resolve issues related to airfare and hotel bookings.

How long does it takes to become a tour operator?

It takes approximately 2 to 3 years to become a tour operator.

Year 1: - Begin an Associate's degree program, which typically takes about 2 years to complete.

Year 2: - Continue and complete the Associate's degree program.

Year 3: - Gain 1 to 2 years of experience in the tourism industry, which may include entry-level positions.

- Complete on-the-job training, which can last from less than a month to up to 3 months.

  • Salary $47,294
  • Growth Rate 4%
  • Jobs Number 26,040
  • Most Common Skill Reservations
  • Most Common Degree Bachelor's degree
  • Best State Massachusetts

Tour Operator career paths

A tour operator's skills can be applied to a variety of careers, including travel agent, account executive, and regional sales manager. They can also transition into roles like consultant, owner, and administrator. Some tour operators become travel consultants or managers, while others become general managers or co-owners of their own businesses. Additionally, they can pursue careers as teachers, specialists, or marketing directors.

Key steps to become a tour operator

Explore tour operator education requirements, most common tour operator degrees.



Start to develop specific tour operator skills

Tour operators use computer databases to research information about fares and hotel ratings, book private tours and national programs, and supervise programmers in writing integrated travel reservation systems. They also investigate customer complaints, book tour packages, customize tours, and provide pricing information. They maintain relationships with clients, collect customer feedback, and educate customers on travel issues.

Complete relevant tour operator training and internships

Research tour operator duties and responsibilities.

Tour operators use computer databases to research fares, book and operate private tours, and manage national programs. They also supervise programmers, manage sales and marketing, and develop products. They work with international partner travel agencies, provide corporate and private booking services, and arrange travel packages. They maintain relationships with cruise line agencies and vendors, screen telephone calls, and work closely with attractions to accommodate group tours.

  • Plan itineraries, make reservations, lead tours, obtain licenses for foreign pilots, manage a fleet of light aircraft.
  • Manage VIP guest calendar to ensure these guests are given quality service from staff.
  • Process and issue airlines, transfers, hotels, and city tours reservations for groups.
  • Train customers in operating Segway personal transport devices and hold entertaining tours.

Prepare your tour operator resume

When your background is strong enough, you can start writing your tour operator resume.

You can use Zippia's AI resume builder to make the resume writing process easier while also making sure that you include key information that hiring managers expect to see on a tour operator resume. You'll find resume tips and examples of skills, responsibilities, and summaries, all provided by Zippi, your career sidekick.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Tour Operator Resume templates

Tour Operator Resume

Apply for tour operator jobs

Now it's time to start searching for a tour operator job. Consider the tips below for a successful job search:

  • Browse job boards for relevant postings
  • Consult your professional network
  • Reach out to companies you're interested in working for directly
  • Watch out for job scams


Are you a Tour Operator?

Share your story for a free salary report.

Average tour operator salary

The average Tour Operator salary in the United States is $47,294 per year or $23 per hour. Tour operator salaries range between $27,000 and $82,000 per year.

What Am I Worth?

How do tour operators rate their job?

Tour operator faqs, what degree do you need for hospitality and tourism, search for tour operator jobs.

Updated April 5, 2024

Editorial Staff

The Zippia Research Team has spent countless hours reviewing resumes, job postings, and government data to determine what goes into getting a job in each phase of life. Professional writers and data scientists comprise the Zippia Research Team.

Tour Operator Related Careers

  • Art Museum Aide
  • Campus Tour Guide
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  • Hunting Guide
  • Museum Attendant
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  • River Guide

Tour Operator Related Jobs

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What Similar Roles Do

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Tour Operators

Tour operator is an organization, firm, or company who buys individual travel components, separately from their suppliers and combines them into a package tour, which is sold with their own price tag to the public directly or through middlemen, is called a Tour Operator .

More precise tour operators are primarily responsible for delivering and performing the services specified in a given package tour. They can provide these services themselves as some have their own cars and coaches, hotels, and other travel-related services or can obtain these from the other suppliers. That is why they are called manufacturers of tourism products .

Tour operators are sometimes called wholesalers but this is partially true because a wholesaler buys goods and services in bulk at his own account to prepare a tour package and then retails it through the travel agencies or directly to clients. However, a tour operator who has his own one or more tourists products components, (SOTC, TCI, Thomas Cook, Indo Asia KUONI formulates a new tourist product for example ‘ inclusive tours .’

Tour operators generally offer a variety of package tours to cater to the needs of different kinds of travelers.

Definitions of Tour Operator

Poyther (1993) defines, “tour operator is  one who has the responsibility of putting the tour ingredients together, marketing it, making reservations and handling actual operation.”

Holloway (1992) stated that tour operations undertake a distinct function in the tourism industry, they purchase separate elements of tourism products/services and combine them into a package tour which they sell directly or indirectly to the tourists.

Today, tour operators have become highly competitive. They endeavor to achieve a high volume of turnover, and maximum International and domestic market share by effectively operating. Moreover, the success of many developed and developing nations as tourists destinations depend heavily on a tour operator’s ability to attract tourists, development and promotion of tourism plant, diversification of tourism product and their social responsibilities to develop a remote and backward area.

Types of Tour Operators

Tour operators are basically categorized into four types . These are categories on the basis of their nature of the business and its operations.

Inbound Tour Operators

Outbound tour operators, domestic tour operators.

  • Ground Operators

These are also known as incoming tour operators . Technically, the operators who receive guests, clients/tourists, and handle arrangements in the host country are c alled inbound tour operators . For example, a group of American Tourists is coming through TCI Ltd. to India and the company makes arrangements and handles the group in India then TCI is called an inbound tour operator.

Incidentally, the inbound traffic to the country for the last two decades has been decreasing. Essentially the tour operators need to adopt innovative marketing strategies and should introduce a special interest tour to cater the special needs of Japanese, Americans, French and British people.

Tour operator who promote tours for foreign destinations, maybe business tour or leisure tour is called outbound tour operators . For example a group of American tourists going to a trip of India and Thomas Cook handle arrangement in America like as ticket reservation, hotel booking etc. then Thomas Cook is called Outbound Tour operators in the context of America.

Domestic tour operators are those who assemble, combine tourist components into inclusive tours and sell it to the domestic travelers. In general, these tour operators provide travel services within the tourist’s native country.

The domestic tour operators operate within the boundary of the home country and offer package tour to the travelers viz. Domestic inclusive tours or independent tours.

Ground Operators/Destination Management Companies

These are commonly known as handling agencies and their main function is to organize tour arrangements for incoming tourists on the behalf of overseas operators. Let us take the case of India as a destination that – has a varied culture.

When a tour operator himself promotes beach holidays, wildlife holidays, adventure tours, heritage tours at the different places, the difficulty arises. It is the ground operator then who by handling the incoming travelers in the same season but at different places ensures that the entire operation is according to the package tours or agreements.

Sometime when a handling agency is at a prominent tourist place i.e., Delhi and it has to make arrangements to Goa, then it contracts (If it has no office of its own) with a local operator (known as excursion agent) to handle the arrangement on his behalf.

Why Ground Operators?

Obviously, the tour operation companies do not have close contact with suppliers, governments, destinations and so on. It leaves no choice with the companies but to appoint handling agencies at the destinations.  The main reasons are:

  • Introduction of new products or plant to promote an exotic destination.
  • Lack of Government regulations.
  • Lack of personal contract.
  • Language problem.
  • The company cannot establish its own branch.

Recognizing the very fact that the reputation, performance, and profitability of tour company in its own market largely depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of ground operators, it has because necessary for the company to consider various factors before the selection of a handling agency, they are:

  • Size of business
  • Professional staff
  • Length of business
  • Area of operation/Product line
  • Market share

Functions of Ground Tour Operators

Over the years of functions and activities of the destination, companies have changed drastically to cope with the changing environment of the tourism industry. In fact, today’s destination companies have become more professional and are bound to provide personalized travel services to the tourists. The following functions are performed by ground tours operators:

  • Land arrangement
  • Contract and Negotiate with other vendors
  • Handling of Arrival and departure procedure
  • Planning and organizing local package tour
  • Escorting the tourists
  • Providing market information
  • Costing and pricing package tour

Practically, if we see the working of the travel agencies and tour operators in the industry we find that most of the organizations are performing different types of activities like the retail travel agency , wholesale travel agency, and tour operators.

The travel agency business is no longer an amateurism. Over the last two decades, the pattern and structure of travel agencies have changed to meet tough challenges in the international market. Today, small-scale agencies are finding the travel industry increasingly complex.

Thus, the small and medium scale travel agencies are disappearing or merging or falling instead of rising. On the other hand, a new concept has also emerged i.e. tour operation business . The tour operation business is new but a maturing business at the global level.

Functions of Tour Operator

A tour operator is an organization, firm, or person who is responsible for the actual arrangement of transport and accommodation facilities on any tour or vacations. They are also responsible for operating and providing vacation through contracting, booking, and packaging together of the various components of the tour such as hotel, transportation, meals, guides, optional tours, and sometimes flights.

A tour operator is like a service provider, providing the most convenient option for tourists to stay, visit, as well as leave from the city. A tour operator owns a high volume of travel services across carriers, services, and accommodation. Some most important functions of the tour operators are following as:

Planning a Tour

The most important functions of the tour operators are planning a tour. Tour operators plan a tour and make tour itinerary which contains the identification of the origin, destination and all the stopping point in a traveler’s tours. A prospective tour operator also gives advice to intending tourists in various types of tour programmes, which they may choose for their leisure or commercial travel.

Making Tour Package

Tour operator buys individual travel components, separately from there suppliers and combines them into a package tour. Tour operators make tour package by assembling various travel components into a final product that is called tour package which is sold to tourist with own price tag. Making tour packages is also an important function of Tour Operator.

Arranging a Tour

Tour operators make tour package and also arrange a tour according to tourist demands. Tour operators arrange the tour package and various tourists activities to provide the best experience to tourists/traveler.

Travel Information

Whatever the size of tour operators, it has provided necessary travel information to the tourists. This task is utterly difficult and very complicated. A tour operator must give up-to-date, accurate and timely information regarding destinations, modes of travel, accommodation, sightseeing, immigration, health and security rules about various permits required to travel in a particular area etc.


It is a very important function of all type tour operators and travel agencies. Tour operator makes all the reservation by making linkages with accommodation sector, transport sector and other entertainment organizations to reserve rooms, and seats in cultural programmes and transportation.

Travel Management

Tour operators manage tour from beginning to the end of the tour. A tour operator has the responsibility to look after the finer details of a vacation or tour such as hotel, accommodation, meals, conveyance etc. Tour operators provide travel guide, escorting services and arrange all travel related needs and wants.

Evaluate the Option Available

Tour operators evaluate all available options to provide a unique or unforgettable travel experience to tourists during their journey. Tour operators evaluate the various options available for a tour package and provide best of them to tourists.

Tour Operators makes tour packages and promote them into various tourists markets at domestic as well international level. Tour operators promote a travel destination to attract a large group of tourists at domestic as well as international level. In the promotion of tourist destination, tour operators play a key role. Travel agencies or tour operators are called as image builder of a country.

Sales and Marketing

Tour operators do sales and marketing of tourist products. Tour operators buy individual travel components, separately and combine them into a tour package, which is sold with their own price tag to the public directly. Tour operators do marketing of tourist destinations and tourism product to attracts the attention of the tourists/travelers.

Taking Care of Glitch

Tours operators are also called handling agencies which handles tour package and take care of all the glitches and problems arises during a tour package. Tour operators fix the glitches and provide the best available alternative to tourists during their journey.

Importance of Tour Operators

Tours operators play a key role in the tourism sector. Tour operators create tourist products, promote them a finally sold them to tourists.

Tour operators provide the best and competitive price to the tourist. Tour operators negotiate with suppliers of tourism products such as hotels, airlines and provide the best possible price to the tourist. Tour operators buy tourist products in bulk and get huge discounts from suppliers. So that they provide tourist products at a cheap price.

Tour operators organized a tour in the best way. They personalize and make sure each and every component of the tour is well-taken care. Tour operators provide the best travel experience during a tour. Tour operators save tourists time and money.

Tour operators provide immediate support systems at the host country as well as a foreign land. When tourists travel to a foreign land and things get uncertain, maybe its a health or loss of documents and need to return back or change of travel plan. A qualified tour operator takes care of all these unseen events with efficiency.

Tour operator caters to the needs of tourists on the based on their taste of travel. Tour operator provides all the best available option according to tourist needs and demands

Difference between Travel Agent and Tour Operator

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between tour operators and travel agents what exactly makes them different. The main difference between a Travel agent and Tour operator are following as:

  • A travel agent is a person who has full knowledge of tourist product – destinations, modes of travel, climate, accommodation, and other areas of the service sector. He acts on the behalf of the product providers/principals and in return get a commission.
  • Tour operator is an organization, firm, or company that buys individual travel components, separately from their suppliers and combines them into a package tour, which is sold with their own price tag to the public directly or through middlemen.
  • Tour operators are like wholesalers and travel agents are the retailers.
  • A tour operator makes the package holidays up and the travel agents sell them on.
  • Tour operator taking up the bulk of the responsibilities and his fee is obviously much greater than a travel agent.
  • A tour operator has the responsibility to look after the finer details of a vacation or tour such as hotel, accommodation, meals, conveyance, etc.

The wholesale travel agencies may offer or operate the package tours or may specialize in developing tours for inbound as well as outbound travelers. They are often referred to as tour operators, but there is a difference between Wholesale Travel Agencies and Tour operators .

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Tour Manager Job Description

Tour managers direct all logistical activities that underpin extensive entertainment-related trips. Prominent tasks include generating itineraries, securing amenities, and conferring with collaborators.

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Tour Manager Job Description Template

We are searching for a meticulously organized and budget-conscious tour manager to direct all logistical trip-related procedures. The tour manager should craft comprehensive itineraries and book applicable services, and also liaise with vested figures. You should also oversee visa applications within a good time.

To ensure success as a tour manager, you should exhibit financial savviness and thoughtfulness about forecasted movements. Ultimately, a sublime tour manager should offer steady emotional and practical aid.

Tour Manager Responsibilities:

  • Planning and disseminating in-depth itineraries.
  • Booking transport, accommodation, and adjacent services.
  • Directing visa application processes.
  • Collaborating with security staff, marketers, and venue operations teams.
  • Shipping requisite equipment to pertinent locations.
  • Remaining highly accessible to stakeholders.
  • Completing client-requested errands, within reason.
  • Managing allotted finances.

Tour Manager Requirements:

  • High school diploma.
  • Demonstrable experience as a tour manager or similar.
  • Formal training in events coordination is ideal.
  • Security-conscious and highly professional.
  • Comfortable managing high-budget tours.
  • Polished logistical and problem-solving methods.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to alleviate the taxing emotions engendered by touring.

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What is a Tour Operator: A Travel Definition

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:

  • 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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Welcome to the New Mexico Tourism Department Industry Resource Website

Tour operator product development guide.

With domestic outdoor travel in the U.S. becoming more attractive than ever, without a doubt, the tourism industry will play an increasingly important part in the economic future of New Mexico. As the industry begins to recover from 2020’s lost year of travel, will 2021 be the year of recovery? And if it is, what does that mean for Entrepreneur Tour Operators? The industry expects to see a shift in how visitors and members of our communities seek travel experiences with a high level of enthusiasm, a newfound sense of freedom and making up for missed travel by taking more leisure trips.

Tour Operator

People will spend more time in locations where they feel safe and comfortable. Seeking the great outdoors and venues, recreational experiences, destinations within their own vehicle, touring museums and art galleries, exploring restaurants and breweries. How about something fun, unique, enjoyable, rich in natural culture, history, and just different?

With this in mind, it is therefore crucial that you, the Entrepreneur Tourism Operator think in these terms when developing your product offerings. Think about the adventurous spirit, the explorer, the family activity. How old, young, limited, new, or local are your tourists and customers? Are there gaps in the market that you can meet with your resources and experience?

In order to make your business profitable and to maintain your viability over the long term, you may need to learn how to*:

  • carry out adequate business and marketing strategies
  • carry out accurate product-pricing calculations
  • develop suitable, high-quality packages
  • control operating costs
  • focus on high-quality customer service
  • generate repeat customers

In addition to establishing good business practices, tourism operators need to establish a philosophical foundation for their products and programs. Tourism is a customer-service industry that relies extensively on local resources for the product. It is important to establish a personal and business philosophy (other than financial) for such things as:

  • the goals and objectives that you want to project through your business operations
  • the educational priorities of your packages (e.g., educating clients about New Mexico’s culture and heritage)
  • the lifestyle priorities behind your involvement in the business (e.g., achieving a successful business operation while maintaining quality time)
  • the ethical values underlying how the business carries out its marketing (e.g., a conscious effort to use less paper)
  • the business values that relate to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner (e.g., hiring locally or returning 10% of gross revenue to a local cause)

The ability to develop and operate sustainable tourism businesses is crucial to the long-term viability and market of the industry. A long-term approach to tourism depends on the wise use and conservation of our natural resources; the protection and enhancement of our environment; and the preservation of our cultural, historic, and aesthetic resources (beauty).

Ecotourism has become the most recognized marketing term and concept consistent with the notion of sustainable tourism. There is an increasing requirement to deliver products in an environmentally responsible manner, not only because new tourists expect us to, but because as an industry, our survival depends on it.

DEFINITION OF ECOTOURISM Non-consumptive, purposeful travel, that creates an understanding of cultural and natural history, while safeguarding the integrity of the ecosystem and producing economic benefits that encourage preservation. Ecotourism implies a scientific, aesthetic, or philosophical approach with a high level of interpretation. From the report adventure Travel and Ecotourism: The Challenge Ahead' prepared by the Canadian Tourism Commission, October; 1997.

By definition, ecotourism involves experiencing and learning about a natural environment or preserved culture. Wildlife viewing is one of the most common activities of ecotourists, with viewing of plants and vegetation an important secondary one. Spring and summer are the busiest times for these activities, but other seasons offer unique experiences as well. Winter, for example, provides opportunities for animal tracking, while both spring and fall are excellent times for bird watching (as summer migrants travel to or from winter habitats).

Eco-tourists tend to stay longer and spend more money per day than the average tourist. Expenditures are more likely to benefit the local community because eco-tourists seek out local goods and services, as part of their desire to experience the 'authentic' destination.

Ecotourism is not likely to overwhelm existing economic activities such as agriculture, but rather promotes mutually beneficial linkages within a diverse, integrated economy. The emphasis on local ownership of accommodations and other services ensures that most profits and job opportunities are retained locally while fostering a sense of community empowerment and control. Ecotourism often thrives in outlying regions that big business has not yet discovered.

To develop a new or innovative product, the process must begin with a solid foundation. Try writing an overview of your business, considering the following key areas. Key points for a product’s foundation include:

  • A personal and business philosophy for what is being done
  • An understanding of industry trends and market demand
  • The ability to search out and assess opportunities and to take advantage of them when conditions are right
  • Knowledge of customer needs and buying patterns
  • Familiarization with competitors’ products and pricing

Food & Brewery Tours

New Mexican cuisine is primarily known for its fusion of Pueblo Native American with Hispano Spanish and Mexican cuisine. Running through it all is the chile pepper: red if the pod is ripe, green if it's harvested early. What a great opportunity to discover this must-visit culinary destination through a food tour!

Green Chile Cheeseburger

Art & Chocolate Tour

The enchanting landscapes of New Mexico have drawn artists from around the globe. Native American art, museums, galleries, and  arts centers  in every corner of the state are dedicated to the expansion and exploration of contemporary arts and culture. Immerse your visitors in a truly unique cultural experience.

Cacao Chocolates

Hiking and Biking Tours

Where the Rockies begin, the State is also home to five  national forests , 15  national parks and monuments , 34  state parks , and 26  wilderness areas . Wheeler Peak, near  Taos , is New Mexico’s highest peak 13,161 feet, and  Elephant Butte Lake State Park , near  Truth or Consequences , is home to the state’s largest lake. This vast and eclectic array of outdoor attractions lends itself to a wide variety of tour opportunities of all sizes for adventurers and explorers to experience and discover why New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment.      

National Heritage site Chaco Canyon

Native American Tours

New Mexico’s vibrant culture and history includes 23 pueblos, tribes, and nations where visitors can explore and experience Native communities, Native American Feast Days, annual markets, museums, gatherings & Pow Wows.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

The possibilities are endless where exploration and adventure abound. Every year the Land of Enchantment attracts millions of visitors who seek out its scenic beauty and infinite varieties of outdoor recreation. Jeep tours are a great way to offer scenic adventures to all types of visitors.

Jeep Tour Operators

River Rafting & Kayaking

The Rio Grande, which ribbons through the state from north to south, is the fourth-longest river in the U.S. Give the gift of serene and rapid waters, vast mountainous views, red rock, waterfalls, wildlife, and wildflowers in bloom. From Rio Chama to the San Juan and Animas Rivers to the Pecos, Canadian, Cimarron, Mora and Gila Rivers. New Mexico supplies an abundance of rafting and kayaking tour opportunities.

tour operators rafting

Attempt to answer these same questions for your product:

  • When would be the best time of year/week for a tour?
  • What would your potential clients be interested in doing/seeing?
  • How long would they like the tour to be?
  • With whom might they travel, e.g. spouse, friend, club?
  • What type of accommodation would they prefer?
  • How much activity is desirable in a day?
  • How much would they be prepared to pay?
  • What would be expected of the guides?
  • What specific activities interest potential clients?
  • What would they hope to gain from this experience?

Once you have laid the foundation and are clear on the purpose of your product, structure naturally follows. These components of structure can now be figured into your product:

  • Itineraries
  • time factors
  • facility bookings
  • vehicle and equipment needs
  • other program logistics

Before beginning to market products, you must be certain of success. Far too often, people think their product is great and do not see or hear the signs indicating that, although it may be great, it is not what the target market wants. The excitement of entrepreneurial work and the novelty of creating a product can blind operators.

Wise entrepreneurs think of their product ideas as questionable and find concrete evidence to prove their worthiness. Here are seven common reasons why new products fail.

  • not enough financial support
  • lack of a marketing plan or poor execution of marketing mix
  • target market is too small
  • no access to consumers
  • poor product quality and customer service
  • insignificant difference between your product and competitors' established product

When you are developing a product, it is important to consider that your customers can differentiate your product from that of your competitors. If they cannot, you will compete head-to-head for consumers with no advantage.

Your product can be different in a number of ways. Perhaps your product competes with your competitors in one or more of the following ways:

  • price - e.g., higher-priced deluxe tour, lower-priced economy tour
  • product quality - e.g., better food, more comfortable vehicles
  • service - e.g., hotel pick-ups, permits or specialized equipment provided
  • diversity of products offered - e.g., a choice of three unique tours
  • staff quality - e.g., qualified, certified, experienced
  • product features - e.g., specialized resource people, exclusive or unique opportunities
  • flexibility - e.g., customized packages, special departures, able to meet special needs

Next Steps:

Refer to the Entrepreneur Tour Operator Toolkit - Branding & Marketing Guide as your next step.

Additional Resources:

  • Special Recreation Permits
  • Buying an Existing Business
  • Outdoor Recreation Division
  • Rules & Regulations
  • Commercial Resources
  • Fees, Permits & Rentals
  • Concession Opportunities
  • National Park Services Policies for Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs)

Download Product Development Guide PDF

Back to Tour Operator Toolkit Outline

Tridisgo 4+

Social attend, iphone screenshots, description.

Tridisgo is offered to you by your tour operator, organization company or travel agency. It works 100% Offline and includes: - All your trip details: transportation, accommodation, activities, tours, etc. - Flights mobile check-in, real-time flight status and alerts - Interactive airport maps - Accommodation details - Daily itinerary - Organization contact information - and more...

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    Tour Manager Responsibilities: Planning and disseminating in-depth itineraries. Booking transport, accommodation, and adjacent services. Directing visa application processes. Collaborating with security staff, marketers, and venue operations teams. Shipping requisite equipment to pertinent locations.

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