The tourism sector is a coming together of various suppliers of services to offer people a complete tourist experience. Travel agents and tour operators play a vital role in the promotion of tourism. Today the travel and tourism industry is one of the biggest and most dynamic industries in the world. If you are planning to be a part of this dynamic industry then you are required to know more about the travel agency operations than just what happens within the walls of the office.
Today, when the world hasn’t become any bigger, the number of people who travel around has certainly gone up several hundred thousand times. This increase in the number of people leaving their place of stay and visiting another place has resulted in the expansion of travel agencies and their linkages with the principal suppliers.
The travel agency is a link between the customers, i.e., traveller or tourist and the principle suppliers, i.e., primary service providers such as tour wholesalers, hotels, airlines, etc. It is the first stop for anyone considering travel, especially to a distant place, i.e., tourist destination, in order to make travel arrangements. The primary job of a travel agency is to provide easy and trouble free travel to the traveller. It is also important for a travel agency to provide enough information to the tourist so that the tourist is not cheated during his or her travel and has a hassle free trip.
Travel Agency Meaning & Types
Definition of Travel Agency
“Travel Agencies sell inclusive tours, holiday, transportation tickets and other related products such as accommodations, car rentals, attraction tickets and insurance to the public”.
“A Travel Agency is a middleman – a business or person selling the travel industry’s individual parts or combination of the parts to the consumer”.
In legal terms “Travel Agency is an agent of the principal – specifically, transportation companies. The agency operates as a legally appointed agent, representing the principal in certain geographic area. The agency functions as a broker for the other suppliers, such as hotels, car rentals, ground operators and tour companies”.
“A business that attends to the details of transportation, itinerary and accommodations for travelers. The agency acts as a broker, bringing the buyer and seller together. They do not substitute the service providing information and access to the visitor and are the middlemen in the purchase of certain services”.
In this business the services primarily provided to the tourist or traveller includes transport (road, rail, air and/or water), accommodation, passport and visa procuring facilities, foreign exchange and also guidance and information regarding the place of travel. Many travel agencies also sell the packages offered by inbound tour operators. The leading travel agencies of India are as.
- SOTC Tour and Travels
- Cook & Kings Tours
- Kuoni Travels
- Thomas Cook India Pvt. Ltd
- Rao Travels
- CSR Tours and Travels
- Southern Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd.
Travel Agency Types
According to the international institute for the unification of private law (UNIDROIT), travel agency can be of two categories.
- An Intermediary Travel Agency
- An Organising Travel Agency
Intermediary Travel Agency
It undertakes as intermediary to act for another, in obtaining either a journey or a sojourn possible in return for the price for the services.
Organizing Travel Agency
An organizing Travel Agency undertakes to organize for the public, a journey or sojourn comprising a series of services.
These two categories also known as travel agent and tour operator.
Another nomenclature for travel agency could be as:
- A wholesaler as he called specializes in putting together tour offerings, which marketed to the public through a network of retail agents or airlines. He does not deal directly with the consumer unless he is also operates at retail level.
- A wholesaler travel agent may design tour packages marketed under his agency’s name, or he may take land packages already assembled by a ground operator and combine them with air or a surface transportation to form new packages.
- Retail travel agents
- The retailer travel agent or retailer sells travel services directly to costumers. He acts as agent.
Forms of a Travel Agency
As like any business firm or company, the travel agency can of as following:
Proprietorship : It is a business owned by an individual. Its debt,obligations and taxes, known as liabilities are the owner’s personal liabilities, and income from a proprietorship is considered the owner’s personal income. The owner must report all the income on his or her individual income tax return. Expenses such as advertising, bank charges, equipment, depreciation, insurance, office supplies, rent, utilities and other costs of doing business may be deducted from income before taxes are paid.
Partnership : Travel agency being seen on a partnership basis is jointlyowned by two or more individuals. The cash, possessions, and other items of value, known as assets; and all the obligations (liabilities) are shared equally by each partner. Each owner is taxed according to his or her share of profits.
Corporate : A corporate travel agency is owned by shareholders/stockholders who are represented by a board of directors. Unlike a proprietorship or partnership a corporation is considered to have its own identity, separate from that of its owners. Legally, it is a ‘person’ by and of itself.