Even before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, the travel and tourism sector was one of the leading and fastest-growing industries globally.
In 2019, it accounted for 10.4% of the world’s GDP (roughly $8.8 trillion). It’s even ahead of the technology, health, and financial industry. However, that changed when the world was hit by the pandemic in early 2020.
The World Travel & Tourism Council reported 62 million job losses due to worldwide lockdowns and travel restrictions, forcing businesses in the industry to either shut down or adjust their operations to the pandemic. From an $8.8 trillion GDP, it suffered a loss of almost $4.5 trillion.
It might have suffered massive losses from the pandemic, but it’s expected that it will soon bounce back and return to pre-pandemic efficiencies.
Despite facing the most challenging year for the hospitality and tourism industry, tour operators remained optimistic and came up with creative ways to cushion the effects of the pandemic. It’s their hard work that brought success to the industry and held it together the past year and a half.
During the first cycles of the lockdown, tour operators cured our boredom by offering virtual travel, showing us a way to escape the four corners of our rooms.
Now that restrictions are more relaxed, tour operators are helping the Singapore tourism industry recover by making domestic tours and experiences possible. These are testaments to how important tour operators are in the tourism industry.
Today, I’d like to share more about the roles of tour operators and why they’re vital to the growth of the industry.
What are the roles of tour agencies?
Creating tour packages
No one knows our travel destinations better than the people behind tour agencies. They are experts in creating comprehensive and attractive tour packages appropriate for all ages, which explains why families are among their top clients.
These tour packages usually cover everything, including itinerary, roundtrip tickets, and of course, accommodation. Any tourist would be lost while preparing for their next vacation without any help from tour agencies!
More importantly, tour agencies know how to adjust to different audiences. For example, if a company asks them to host a tour for their employees, their tour operators will know how to tweak the itinerary to accommodate the preferences of employees and the priorities of the company.
Preparing travel arrangements
You can always depend on tour agencies to have a comprehensive tour package that will satisfy your travel spirit, but there’s more to them than that!
Tour agencies can take care of all your travel arrangements as well, such as visa processing, hotel bookings, transportation to the airport, and in some cases, travel insurance.
The appeal (and benefit) of dealing with tour agencies is the convenience of travelling: everything’s already pre-arranged for you. All you have to do is prepare your luggage, show up, and enjoy the rest of the trip!
Providing a safe and memorable tour
If you’re visiting a new country for the first time, you’d want to know how safe it is for tourists before going. There may be places you don’t know of that you shouldn’t go to for safety reasons.
The perks of dealing with tour agencies is that places like these will be avoided from the get-go. You can enjoy your trip without worrying about the places that can put your life at risk. After all, what we read on the Internet doesn’t reveal the true story of our destination.
Aside from addressing safety concerns, tour operators know the recipe for a memorable and satisfying tour. They’re every tourist best bet when it comes to must-see tourist spots and proper etiquette when exploring a certain country.
The peace of mind that tour agencies give, also allows tourists the chance to completely immerse themselves in a foreign land and discover new experiences.
How do tour agencies impact the travel industry?
Tourism, through the effort of its workers, is a massive contributor to the local economy. In fact, both developed and developing countries rely heavily on tourism to boost their economies. For a small country like Singapore, the hospitality and tourism industry contributes 4% to its GDP in 2019, before we were hit by the pandemic.
Through tourism, Singapore has become known as a diverse city-state and a global tradehub.
Tourism creates and supports jobs as well. In 2019, those employed in Singapore’s tourism industry make up about 4.7% of the total employment on the island. Without these people, tourists will find it difficult to travel to a certain destination.
Offer a new perspective
Travelling allows us to break free from our daily routine and be exposed to other cultures, languages, and ways of living.
Tour agencies make all these accessible to more people through travel packages that encourage tourists to connect with their destination on a deeper level, as opposed to simply going to tourist spots.
When you’re exploring a new country, you’ll learn to be more open, understanding, and emphatic towards our differences. Your perspective of the world changes when you’re experiencing and seeing these differences personally.
By being thrown outside our comfort zones, we’re encouraged to be kinder and more accepting of people from different backgrounds.
Protect the environment
Many tour agencies are increasingly becoming more aware of the environmental impacts of tourism by creating more sustainable and socially responsible tour packages.
Tour packages like these allow tour operators to promote sustainable tourism by educating tourists that there's a social responsibility to be mindful of their environment while in a foreign country.
Other travel agencies are also now adding activities like clean-up drives and tree planting to their itineraries. That way, before every tourist finishes a tour, there will have been a positive thing that was born out of their visit.
Helping the local tourism recover
Ever engaged a tour agency yourself? If so, how did they make your previous travels safer and more convenient? I’d love to know more about it!
By the way, if you’re looking for ways to discover Singapore, feel free to check us out! Let’s help our local tourism industry recover by exploring other parts of our island!