Tour Operators and Travel Wholesalers Key Terms

By Cathy Salustri, writer
Feb 19, 2010
Image Credit: Shutterstock George Rudy

Learn terminology specific to tour operators and travel wholesalers

Tour operators and travel wholesalers perform similar functions: essentially they both offer travel at lower rates than a person or business could get by booking their travel on their own. However, these two types of travel-industry specific professions have some differences.

Knowing the terminology specific to the travel industry, as well as to travel wholesalers and tour operators, will help your business better understand which services to choose.

Tour operator

Tour operators offer tours that buy services from different lodging, attractions and transportation companies. They don't work for any of these companies but book large blocks of their inventories and can combine these services into different tours.

Travel wholesaler

Many people think that travel wholesalers offer the same services as tour operators, and while the two professions have many similarities, they also have differences. Travel wholesalers create tour packages but never sell them at retail prices. In many cases, they don't create the tour.

Certified Tour Professional

A Certified Tour Professional, or CTP, has completed classes and demonstrated experience and knowledge of the tourism industry.

Inbound tour operator and receptive operators

Inbound tour operators and receptive operators don't travel with tours. Instead, they stay at one location and greet different tours as they come into the area.

Inclusive tour

An inclusive tour includes airfare, transportation and attractions or some combination of the three. It may include more; it may include less. The services depend on the setup of the travel company.

Step-on guide

A step-on guide is a local guide who boards a tour bus to narrate the tour for a certain locale. A step-on guide doesn't work in multiple cities.

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