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Tips and Resources on How to Start a Tour Company

Tour operators can offer overseas cultural tours, domestic sightseeing tours, adventure or nature tours, or any other niche. Another type of specialization is the budget tour operator catering to the price conscious, or the luxury tour operator catering to people who value experience over money.

Look into the demand and what competitors offer before targeting a niche. For instance, many surveys indicate ecotourism, with a $77 billion market as the fastest growing tourism segment in the United States. A national survey by the US Fish and Wildlife Service finds that 31 percent of Americans over 15 years observe and photograph wildlife. Another survey by the National Survey of Recreation and the Environment finds that 94.1 million people observe wildlife or wildflowers, and 69.4 percent of people indulge in bird watching. Other surveys indicate that 55.1 million American travelers prefer nature, culture, and heritage tourism, and that the number of visitors to national parks increased from 220 million in 1980 to 256 million in 1990 to 277 million in 2004.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) provides certification courses to register as a Certified Travel Agent. While such a certification is not mandatory, it lends credibility to the business.

The United States Tour Operator Association and National Business Travel Association are two major professional associations that represent the industry. Membership in these organizations lends credibility, provides visibility, and helps gain useful and up to date information on the travel industry.

Registration with the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) provides an ARC number that allows issuance of airline and transportation tickets. This registration usually requires a bond of $20,000 and two years experience in the travel business.

Insurance is necessary for tour operators. One good place to approach for insurance is Independent Insurance Agents Brokers of America (IIABA). The business depends on networks and referrals, and the start up infrastructure requirements include a small office, which can very well be a home office, a telephone connection, brochures, visiting cards, and a website.

A dedicate telephone system is the lifeline for the tour business. A toll free 800 phone number is the best option to encourage people to call up and inquire about the services offered.

The attractiveness and quality of the website can make or break the business.

People come to tour operators to eliminate the uncertainty, do away with the hassles of arranging the tour themselves, and to take advantage of the tour operators' specialized knowledge and expertise. Success of the tour operator, therefore, depends on effective organization.

A tour operator provides the following major service to clients:

Travel arrangements including flight ticketing and transfers, and knowledge of baggage rules Visa arrangements for international travel Reservation of hotel accommodations Sightseeing arrangements Information of local culture, bvlgari ring imitation gold customs, and places of interest Dealing with emergencies such as accidents, missing connecting flights due to delays, and illness

Providing such services effectively requires a set up at the destination. Having a branch establishment in a remote location is possible only for big national level tour operators. The only other alternative is striking local tie ups at the intended destinations.

Ways to tie up include:

Approaching hotels and accommodation providers directly or through the Internet Approaching airlines or tour operators for ticket bookings Arranging for a local tour operator to receive the client and be on stand by to attend to any medical, bvlgari wedding imitation ring diplomatic, or financial emergency

It is always advisable for the start up tour operator to undertake bvlgari imitation ring for man a trip to get first hand experience of what the client will undergo. Small time operators would need to accompany the touring group themselves, while big operators hire tour guides for this propose. For customized tours, the tour operators will need to have a tie up bvlgari imitation diamond ring with any other operator at the destination, to meet and guide the tourist.

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