Tour Operators and Travel Agents
These two names look similar for the holiday makers, especially for those who are not habitual vacationer whereas these two entities have different roles and functions.
Tour operator is someone who designs a tour product, markets it and then sells it to its clients directly and through travel agents. There are following responsibilities a tour operator has to fulfill.
A tour operator is responsible for the services from home to home, looking after accommodation, ground transport, tour guide services and flights whereas travel agent’s role is limited to sell air tickets or selling tour products designed by specialist tour operators.
There is further division in the domain of tour operators, one is inbound and other is outbound. Outbound tour operators do not design a tour product but sell a product that is already designed by the local tour operator of the respective destination and his role is as middle man. Inbound tour operator is responsible for all needs of incoming tourists from receiving at the airport to seeing off to their destination at the airport.
Travel agent’s role is generally limited to selling air tickets or selling the tours of many tour operators as middle man. Travel Agent is normally known as appointed agent for airline or IATA and not directly involved as ground handling agent whereas tour operator is wholly responsible.
Travel Agents and Outbound Tour Operators are also essential branches of tourism segment but as a matter of fact they are the source of the drainage of foreign exchange from the country whereas Inbound Tour Operators are the source of generating foreign exchange for the country. The inbound tour operators play pivotal role to generate foreign exchange for Azerbaijan, so the inbound tour operators are the backbone of any country.