What is the difference between a tour operator and a travel agent?

You may book your package holiday (or other travel arrangements) directly with a tour operator or through a travel agent.

Tour operators put together package holidays and may sell other travel services on their own, such as accommodation. 

The tour operator is responsible for all the travel services which are included in the package holiday, even if it uses other suppliers to deliver the services. When you book your package holiday (or other travel services), there will be a contract between you and the tour operator. The contract will tell you who the tour operator is and what they are responsible for.

A travel agent sells package holidays and other travel arrangements that are provided by others, eg tour operators, hotels, airlines. Your contract for the travel services will be with the tour operator or other service provider. Your travel agent may also have its own terms of business which cover how the booking will be made and other relevant information. 

A package holiday can come in many different forms and can be sold in different ways. For more information, please click here.

Not all tour operators or travel agents are members of ABTA.