A Travel Agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism related services to the public on behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, and package tours. In addition to dealing with ordinary tourists most travel agencies have a separate department devoted to making travel arrangements for business and some travel agencies specialize in commercial and business travel only. There are also travel agencies that serve as general sales agents for foreign travel companies, allowing them to have offices in countries other than where their headquarters are located.
A Travel Agency's main function is to act as an agent, selling travel products and services on behalf of a supplier. Consequently, unlike other retail businesses, they do not keep a stock in hand. A package holiday or a ticket is not purchased from a supplier unless a customer requests that purchase. The holiday or ticket is supplied to the agency at a discount. The profit is therefore the difference between the advertised price which the customer pays and the discounted price at which it is supplied to the agent. This is known as the commission. In many countries, all individuals or companies that sell tickets are required to be licensed as a travel agent.
The total number of approved service providers of Travel Trade by Ministry of Tourism till December 2012:-
|Category||Till 31 Dec'2012|
|Inbound Tour Operators||435|
|Tourist Transport Operators||131|
|Domestic Tour Operators||071|
|Adventure Tour Operators||030|
There are approximately 266 million people employed in travel & tourism sector worldwide in organized and unorganized sector around the globe. In India we have approximately 45 to 50 million people employed in Travel & Tourism sector. At present tour operator business is growing in comparison to travel agencies and if we talk broadly then overall online travel agency are leading their business. The reason is that tour operator business is on large scale as compare to travel agencies that is they have more number of departments who else than making and selling packages do deal in passport & visa, insurance, medical insurance and so on.