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Differences between tour operators and travel agents

Many people have a misconception about tour operators and travel agents. But tour operators and travel agencies are different and play very different roles in the tourism business. Compared to a factory, a tour operator is like a production department, and a travel agency is like a sales department…

The tour operator is the organizer and supplier of the package of tourist services. It is often referred to as a ground handling company. The travel company – the tour operator will contract with hotels and resorts, airlines and land transport companies, such as cars, buses, minibuses, ferries and trains, etc. With all the necessary prices and information collected, tour operators prepare detailed travel packages and distribute them to travel agents, travel agent catalogs and abroad.

tour operator
The functions and responsibilities of the tour operator are negotiated separately:

Transportation: cars, buses and minivans, airline tickets, train tickets, ferry tickets, cruise ship tickets, other types of transfers, and even special vehicles such as rickshaws.
Tour Guide: All guides must be licensed by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism after attending and passing the exams in the Professional Tour Guide Course.
Excursions: popular attractions among tourists, eco-tours, adventure tourism, jungle adventure tours, snorkeling and diving, visiting the islands and even getting to know the craft or cultural life.
Food & Beverage: Breakfast, tea, coffee, lunch and dinner, whether buffet, buffet or packaged food.
Accommodation: Hotels, resorts, hostels, campsites, hostels, boot camps, tree hotels or traditional tourist accommodation.
Events: telematches, treasure hunt, paintball, team building, meetings outside the office…
Special events: corporate parties, karaoke contest, etc.
On the other hand, travel agencies do not form tours. Travel agencies advise travelers, advertise and sell tour packages from various tour operators, and then manage tour bookings. Travel agents are usually located in the most prestigious areas with heavy traffic, next to the main roads, inside shopping malls or on the first floors of monuments.

travel agent
Functions and duties of a travel agent:

Selling tourism products and services, in particular tours to end customers on behalf of third party providers such as airlines, hotels, tour operators, cruise lines, etc.
Most travel agencies have a dedicated department dedicated to business travel arrangements, while some travel agencies deal with commercial and business travel.
Some also act as agencies serving foreign travel companies in different countries.
Acting as an agent in the formation of travel packages:
Buying tours and travel services at a discount and selling at a markup.
Receive commissions from suppliers and other travel companies.
Organization of purchase of tickets for transportation (eg airline, ferry, bus, train, etc.).
Other commercial transactions are carried out by: insurance agents, tourist guides, car rentals, foreign exchange offices, private conductors, etc.
Offering unbiased advice on the client’s journey.
The next time you travel with a small group of less than 10 tourists, it is wise to bring in a travel agent. Don’t try to find the best travel agent. It’s just a myth! Just work with the travel agent that suits your needs and budget, or the travel agent you trust the most. However, if you are organizing a group tour, such as a corporate tour, the tour operator will be able to provide you with more suitable personalized services.

The above simple but useful information will help you organize a successful vacation or corporate tour and avoid ridiculous misunderstandings.

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