The difference between a travel agent and a tour operator is a common question amongst people who are not working in the travel sector. In this article, we will clear the air about the two terms as in effect to the travel industry.
A tour operator is a company or person who thinks up an idea for a vacation, conducts research about it, designs the vacation content and itinerary, markets the resultant package, and then contact the services required for the vacation like a bangkok half day city tour, resort reps or tour leaders, guides, transport, accommodation, etc. They sell the package using the services of a travel agent or sometimes directly to the consumer. Tour operators sell packages created by themselves. They sell only their creations, and nothing apart from that.
As in law, a tour operator is known to be the “principal.” This implies that they are responsible for the product that they make and can cover the liability usually with some form of bonding or an ATOL license to guarantee that their consumers receive their money back, in case where a tour operator disappoints.
A travel agent provides people or rather consumers with a variety of vacation packages that the tour operator did not put together. In theory, they don’t put any of their packages together; rather, they sell a variety of numerous vacation packages put together by a lot of various tour operators. They do not act as a principal, and usually, don’t create or design the holiday packages they sell. The travel agent does not take responsibility for the holidays; rather, the tour operators whose products they sell do.
Therefore, the travel agents typically do not have any bonding in place or an ATOL license but depends on the tour operators to cover this.