What Are the Differences Between Travel Agent and Tour Operator?
For some people a travel agent and a tour operator is the same thing. They may sound the same and if you compare the services provided by both, you might actually find the services to be similar in nature as well.
However, there is a big difference between the two. Travel agents and tour operators are two separate service providers with a common mission: to provide you a good journey and that is why they handle your journey the only difference being that both of them handle different parts of your journey.
For a consumer or a customer, a tour operator is someone who provides more detailed services. It might not seem very different when you read about it, but the difference is huge when you actually experience it. If you want to understand the differences easily, a travel agent acts like a waiter when you visit a restaurant, he will take your order and then forward the order to the chef. The food that you get in the end is prepared by the chef. So, the chef here is your tour operator while your waiter is the travel agent.
Simple enough, right? Not really. Because after 1992, due to changes in laws, the maximum liability lies upon the one who provides the services for travel according to their stake, expected profit. So, the financial responsibility is now divided upon everyone who has stakes or profit while planning your trip.
So, with the above examples, it is easier to say that a travel agent won’t be having huge stakes in your whole journey as the travel agent might actually be a connection point and will hand you over to the tour operator once your journey starts. So, in case something goes wrong or during your holidays or travel you are not provided with the services that you were promised, the tour operator may be liable for a law suit because your tour operator is the one arranging for all this while your travel agent may only be liable for a small amount due to the fact that a travel agent is acting as a bridge between you and the tour operator.
For easier understanding, the scope of both the tour operators and travel agents is different. A travel agent will provide you with limited services unless you ask for more. They could be more like middle men, making arrangements with tour operators and airliners on your behalf or for you. The tour operator would be the actual agency providing you the services. That is why the bill of a travel agent would be much smaller to that of a travel agent.
UK Business Directory is one good resource to find both tour operators and travel agents in your locality and you can actually compare the services of the many listed to finalize the one for you.