The safest types of businesses are the most relevant ones. Their dynamic development does not depend on variations in demand and supply. One such type of business in tourism. The tourism business is one of the fast-developing fields of the world economy. International tourism is one of the three biggest export fields, being inferior only to the oil-producing industry and motorcar construction. The role of tourism in the world economy is constantly growing. The impact of tourism on the economy of a particular country is also increasing (Cortes-Jimenez & Pulina, 2010, p. 61).
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The tourism business is attractive for several reasons. They include relatively small initial investments, growing demand for tourism services, a high level of profitability, and minimal term needed to compensate for the expenses. How to organize a successful tourism business – is one of the main questions needed to be answered by people eager to succeed in this field. Opening a tourism business does not require big investments. However, the company should put much effort to remain competitive in the tourism market. The person willing to start a tourism business needs to investigate the main specifics of this field and be aware of training programs needed to be accomplished and other requirements needed to be met by everyone involved in providing tourism services.
Operation Organizational Chart
The creation of a successful tourism business requires writing an effective business plan that describes how the company will be structured. The creation of operation organizational chart can contribute to a better understanding of the perspective of the company’s development and help to organize it most effectively.
Here is an example of an organizational operation chart suitable for a company aimed at creating a good tourism business.
The way of organizing the tourism business presented in this chart corresponds to the main specifics of the company interested in becoming a competitive participant in the tourism market. The chart includes all the main elements of structure, which are vital for providing efficacious functioning of the company and can be further developed by new necessities and challenges.
Main forms and sectors of tourism
Tourism is defined as temporary trips to other countries or places that are different from permanent places of residence. Its primary goals include entertaining, health-improving, sporting, cognitive, religious, and other purposes.
As there are many forms of tourism, the person willing to create a good tourism business should be aware of this diversity and define the type of tourism he/she would like to choose as the basis of the business. The most popular form of tourism refers to trips inside the country of residence. It includes nearly 80-90% of all trips in the world. International tourism is known for its contribution to providing the arrival of currency to the budget of the receiving country.
While considering this type of tourism as a fundament for the tourism business, the person should pay attention to the most popular places for visiting. European countries deal with 65% of all tourist trips, United States present tourist destinations for 20% of trips, and all other regions receive only 15% of trips. Other forms of tourism include recreational tourism, health-improving tourism, business tourism, shopping tourism. Before starting a tourism business, the company should explore all specifics of the above-mentioned types and choose the one that corresponds to the goals of the business and its initial capacities.
There are also different sectors of tourism, which should be considered while choosing the one you want your company to be specialized in. Tourism sectors include transportation services, accommodation services, guided tour services, food services, etc. Travel agencies and tour operators deal with all of the sectors of tourism and provide the services united to create the best trip experience. Travel agencies and tour operators appear to be the most effective choice to be considered while deciding on the way of organizing a new tourism business.
Tour operators and travel agencies
The person willing to create a tourism business is most likely to be interested in starting a Tour Operator or Travel Agency. Both options have their advantages and present numerous opportunities. The choice between them depends on the type of tourism the company wants to sell.
Tour operators’ main aim is to create tourism products. Tour operators are corporations that form tourist packages of services, usually including tickets, hotel reservations, and sightseeing services. They are the key elements in providing sustainable tourism (Khariat & Maher, 2012, p. 214). Tour operators deal with determining prices for tours and develop the system of discounts. Besides, they work on advertising and advancing tours and tourist directions. They participate in various trade fairs, exhibitions, and other types of tourism gatherings. The tours designed by tour operators can be implemented through mediators. Travel agencies play the role of mediators.
Travel agencies deal with the selling of tourist services. They search for clients and present available tourist offers designed by tour operators. In such a way, travel agencies receive their profit. They usually deal with various tour operators to provide a wide range of services for their clients. As the competitiveness of the tourism sector is constantly growing, travel agencies have an urgent need to manage the productivity and the efficiency of their business (Sellers-Rubio & Nicolau-Gonza´lbez, 2009, p. 654).
The main difference between tour operators and travel agencies lies in their sources of income. Tour operators buy tourist products, and their profit is determined by the difference between the price of purchasing and the price of selling. Often tour operators buy separate services and then compose comprehensive tourist products with their price setting. Travel agencies act as retail sellers, and their profit is earned by commission charges received for selling the tourist services. Besides, tour operators always have a supply of tourist services for selling, while travel agencies request about particular services if the client demonstrates purchase interest.
Law regulation of the activity of tour operators and travel agencies differ in every country. There is no difference between the legal responsibilities of a tour operator and a travel agency in the USA while European Union law differentiates their responsibilities (Pestronk, 2013, par. 2).
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Tour operator job description
An organization that provides services for tourists and the representative of this company can be called tour operator. Tour operator is supposed to establish contacts with transport companies, hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing companies to satisfy the needs of the clients. The whole complex of these services is called a tourism product.
Tour operator plans and arranges tour programs, estimating the future cost of the tour. He/she reserves tickets and numbers in the hotel, compose the sightseeing and entertaining programs. The duties of the tour operator also include registration of tourist documentation and visa provision. Tour operator deals with advertising programs and communicates with travel agencies.
For becoming a tour operator, only a secondary school diploma is required. A university degree or college diploma in leisure, travel, tourism, management, or hotel business can become beneficial. Relevant professional or vocational qualifications can also be an advantage. However, the most important factors that define the person’s ability to get the job of the tour operator to include the previous experience of work in fields related to tourism and personal skills.
To investigate the distinctive qualities vital for tour operators, I created a questionnaire and used it while discussing the topic with specialists occupying this position (See Appendix). The results of the research have shown that the tour operator needs to possess such qualities as responsibility, politeness, interpersonal skills, and competency. These features are necessary for successful communication with clients. Besides interacting with clients, tour operator duties include carrying on business negotiations with different organizations offering tourist services. Therefore, knowledge of business etiquette, enterprise, and entrepreneurial skills are also of vital importance. The ability to concentrate and scrupulousness will also be useful while drawing up tourist documentation.
Travel agent job description
Travel agents or travel agency managers contribute to the creation of a successful tourism business. They deal with sales development and staff management. Their job is aimed at promoting business and providing effective marketing. They monitor the consumer demand and preferences and develop tourism business strategy based on the gathered information.
Their duties include consulting the clients about tourist products, searching for the tour that suits the preferences of the client, preparing and drawing up documents for a trip, reserving tours, and assisting the client until the arrival from the trip. Travel agents also ensure efficient cooperation with hotels, airlines, and other travel partners.
To become a travel agent or a travel agency manager the person does not need special education, though a degree in fields related to tourism can contribute to better performance of the specialist. Basic knowledge of foreign languages, personal tourism experience, and the ability to work with the system reserving tour operators are also great advantages.
To investigate the distinctive qualities vital for travel agents/ travel agency managers, I used the same questionnaire while discussing the topic with specialists occupying these positions. The qualities, which were mentioned most often as essential for people occupying these positions, include the ability to overcome stressful situations, the ability to work in the team and quickly solve problems, and good communicative skills.
Creating a tourism business requires some professional skills obtained by the people involved in the functioning of the company. The professional skills are closely related to the amount of training received by the person working in this field. Tour operators and travel agents usually have a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management or other fields related to this area of business. Besides, there are numerous training programs organized by educational institutions and aimed at training people specializing in different areas of tourism business. The training programs vary in their length from one week to several semesters. The programs can focus on either general or distinctive skills and knowledge.
Training programs are considered helpful while becoming a specialist in the tourism industry. However, the research, conducted with the help of usage of the questionnaire, has shown skeptical attitude to training programs among specialists working in tourism companies. Most of them indicated previous work experience and personal skills as more important requirements for providing successful performance. Educational background and participation in training programs seem to be a bonus while searching for a job in the tourism business but are not of the greatest importance.
Department area researched
Tour operator organizations consist of several departments working on different aspects contributing to the successful functioning of the company. The department of sales provides effective sales and discount systems. The department of product contractors works on driving new product initiatives, negotiating commercially profitable contracts, and managing the designated product. The travel-consulting department interacts with clients and adjusts the tours to their preferences. The service and product department deals with companies providing tourist products for the tour operator. The marketing department provides effective advertising and marketing strategy.
Travel agencies have a similar structure. The main difference lies in their orientation toward selling tour operators’ products instead of creating their products. That makes the department of product contractors unnecessary. The tour operators’ communication department deals with tour operators providing tourist services.
The research conducted using the questionnaire has demonstrated that specialists working as tour operators/ travel agents/ travel agency managers consider each of the departments of their companies to be of vital importance for providing a good performance of the organization.
Creating a good tourism business requires obtaining some knowledge about the specifics of work in this field. Proper investigation of this topic can contribute to the person’s better understanding of all requirements and features related to launching a tourist company. The investigation conducted with the help of discussions and usage of questionnaires allowed us to discover the main peculiarities of the topic and analyze the opinions of people working in this field.
Overall results of the investigation confirm that it is of vital importance for the person eager to start a tourism business to investigate the main specifics of this field. Being aware of the requirements needed to be met by everyone involved in providing tourism services will help to create a successful business strategy and hire people able to develop the company that works in the tourism business field.
The questionnaire used while discussing topic of my paper with specialists working in the researched tourism area:
- What were the main reasons for you to choose working as tour operator/ travel agency manager/ travel agent?
- Does your educational background contribute to the successful fulfillment of your duties at work?
- Do you have the degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management?
- Do you have degree or college diploma in any other field related to tourism?
- Have you participated in the training aimed at developing the skills and knowledge required while working in the tourism industry?
- How does your previous experience contribute to the successful fulfillment of your duties at work?
- In your opinion, is the educational background of vital importance for the employees working in the tourism industry?
- List the personal qualities, which are of vital importance for people working as tour operators or travel agents.
- What do you consider more important for efficacious work in tourism business: educational background, previous work experience or personal qualities?
- Which departments contribute to the effective performance of tour operator organization/ travel agency?
- In your opinion, what is the key to the success of the company in tourism?
Cortes-Jimenez, I., & Pulina, M. (2010). Inbound tourism and long-run economic growth. Current Issues in Tourism, 13(1), 61-74.
Khariat, G., & Maher, A. (2012). Integrating sustainability into tour operator business: An innovative approach in sustainable tourism. Tourismos, 7(1), 213-233.
Pestronk, M. (2013). In U.S., responsibilities of tour operator vs. agent no different. Web.
Sellers-Rubio, R., & Nicolau-Gonza´lbez, J. L. (2009). Assessing performance in services: The travel agency industry. The Service Industries Journal, 29(5), 653-667.