People, Travel

Overhauling Travel Services Key to Memorable Vacations

Establishment of dedicated tour operators can help improve the quality of travel services.Establishment of dedicated tour operators can help improve the quality of travel services.
Monitoring 100 tour operators is easier than supervising 4,000 travel agencies

Tour operating procedures in Iran are outdated and unprofessional, and require fundamental reforms, said an official at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Vali Teymouri, director of Monitoring and Assessment of Tourism Services Office at ICHHTO, said there are no official tour operators in Iran and travel agencies take it upon themselves to act as travel agents and tour operators, which only creates chaos and makes monitoring travel services difficult.

“Technically, package holidays must be prepared by tour operators and marketed and sold by travel agencies,” he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

“However, in Iran, any travel company that can obtain a certain permit is authorized to organize tours, which shouldn’t be the case.”

Teymouri stressed that tour operators should make all arrangements for transport, accommodation and other services to prepare a unique package, and travel agents must act as merely sales representatives and charge their set commission.

“This will make monitoring travel services easier, since instead of monitoring 4,000 travel agencies, some of which are not even authorized, we will have to supervise only 100 credible tour operators,” he said.

Also, since only a certain company is in charge of providing the services, customers will know who to refer to in case of trouble, as the package is sold under the operator’s license code.

At present, a package is handed down through a number of agencies before finally being sold to the customer that will naturally lead to a hike in its price, but the proposed method will help prevent illegal package holiday dealing.

“The current guidelines have been devised around 15 years ago and are in dire need of revision,” said Teymouri.

To many people who are not habitual vacationers, terms such as travel agent and tour operator seem to be synonymous and used interchangeably. While there are similarities between the roles performed by both, there are distinct differences in their functions.

A tour operator is the person making the transport and accommodation arrangements in any tour or vacations. The hotel, the conveyance, the flight and all other amenities and facilities are looked after by tour operators. All the finer aspects of a tour are the responsibilities of tour operators.

A travel agent sells attractive tour packages to people interested in vacations. In fact, they act as middlemen between tour operators and prospective clients as these people have a client base and are expert in matching tours and vacations according to the requirements of their clients.