Tired of the 9 to 5, or of being kept at your desk on a beautiful day? Perhaps you’re looking for ways to expand your tourism business and build on your existing success. Either way, the tourism industry offers some genuinely exciting opportunities to do what you love and deliver unforgettable experiences to guests. So where will you focus your attention? Keep reading to check out our recent round-up of over 35 exhilarating tours and travels business ideas to contemplate in 2022 and beyond. 

Getting into the tour operator industry

The tourism industry is such a rewarding one to work in. As a tour or activity operator, you can spend your days with great people, share your special part of the world and even raise awareness of important cultural or environmental values. 

Of course, even if you don’t directly run tours and activities there are many different ways to build an amazing career in tourism. You could run a photography business, a souvenir shop, hiking gear rentals, become a travel blogger, or provide catering for tour and activity operators. Staying open-minded will help you find your ideal niche in the industry!

5 Tour operation areas to get started with

1. Tours

When you offer travel tours, you’re offering an enjoyable journey of some kindled by an experienced guide. Some of the hottest tours and travels business ideas right now include: 

There may also be a gap in your local area for a niche tour guide business. For example: if your hometown was the birthplace of a famous musician or even a centuries-old famous cuisine, there could be a perfect opportunity to tap into that interest!

Keep in mind there are two big growth areas to consider when it comes to offering tours for the modern traveler:

  • Sustainable tourism, because guests increasingly want to minimize their environmental impact when traveling
  • Culturally and socially responsible tours, where guests look for a genuine experience connecting with local people and practices.

2. Activities

Tourism activities can encompass a vast array of options from the relaxing to the extreme! These could involve physical activities, connection with natural environments, or even incorporate virtual reality. Unique experiences such as hot air balloon rides are also an option for relaxing activities that involves a thrilling side to it. You could also consider more recent technology that people might be itching to try out, such as jet boarding, flyboarding and indoor skydiving. There may also be an opportunity to offer intentionally tech-free experiences – such as a retreat with no mobile reception where people can unwind!

Here are some other popular tourist activity ideas for 2022 and beyond:

  • Escape room experiences 
  • Glowing art rooms or VR rooms
  • Themed corporate retreats 
  • Modern summer camps or school camps
  • Survival or bushcraft trips
  • Fitness or wellbeing retreats.

There are two big notable areas to consider for tour operator activities. Think about: 

  • Activities that are family and group friendly, which are becoming popular within the travel industry as social restrictions ease.
  • Accessibility. Tourism business owners should be actively looking for ways to support equal access so everyone can enjoy their activities – as best as possible for the activity in question.

3. Attractions

amusement parks are within the tours and travels business ideas

Experiential travel is huge right now, and tourist attractions have both local and long-distance appeal for travelers. These can range from heritage attractions and natural formations to cutting-edge art exhibitions. 

Here are more relevant ideas for building an attraction that guests will be keen to visit:

Nostalgia and retro appeal are also big right now in attractions, with everything from arcade games to Australia’s ‘big things’ providing popular. Travelers are increasingly looking to explore the road less traveled and find novel experiences. So – even if you’re in a small regional area you could get in on the action by embracing the bizarre, weird, and wonderful!

4. Shuttles

As interstate and international travel resumes, there will be demand for airport transfers, shuttles, and unique transport options to and from accommodation. You might tap into the wedding transportation market, or offer fun journeys for birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties. Consider how you’ll separate your shuttle service from the rest with either a unique form of transport, added options like food and drink, or a distinctive driver who adds to the experience. You might consider offering: 

  • An airport shuttle business 
  • Traveler shuttles to accommodate tour and travel bookings
  • A party bus or ferry
  • Specialist pet or luggage delivery
  • Unique transport such as tuk-tuks, school buses, or a custom limo 
  • Premium shuttle services.

It’s also worth considering the notable events in your area and how people might want to travel to these. Guests may get excited about a festival bus that transports them from the city to the festival site complete with karaoke, as just one example! 

5. Charters & equipment hire

Travelers love charter services because they can have a luxurious or far-flung experience without having to buy all the equipment or vehicles themselves! You might offer self-driven charters, or provide an experienced skipper or pilot as part of the product package. Ideas for modern charter businesses include:  

  • Party yachts for relaxed island days
  • Fishing charters 
  • Houseboat charters
  • Private river cruise charters
  • Hovercraft charters
  • Kayak, small boat hire, or paddle board
  • Helicopter or small plane charters.

For many charter companies, it’s a great idea to promote the destination as well as the charter experience itself as the two go hand in hand.

A great charter experience is almost always about the escape from the everyday. It’s something guests are willing to splurge on, so be sure to consider ways you can elevate the experience. You can achieve this by offering optional extras and added services. Drinks packages, catering, entertainment, and DJs are extras that can boost your revenue.

6. Luxury Vacation Operators & Travel Agents

Guests love Luxury Vacations because they are money-rich but time-poor. They want to draw on the experience and expertise of their trusted Travel Agent or Operator to discover the finest Experiences, Boutique Properties & off-the-beaten-track Destinations. However, they may not have the time to research the thousands of options available to them. And because they may well only visit these destinations only once in their life and want to be sure they get the greatest possible experience. They’ll want the security of knowing they will be well looked after whilst visiting far-off countries with different languages and customs with which they are not familiar.

A great example of one such Luxury Vacation Operator is The Luxury Peru Travel Company. Their services provide guests with a chance to discover one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu – in absolute luxury.

Building your business idea in the tour operator industry

If you have a brilliant business idea in mind, then you may be raring to put the wheels in motion. There will be a few things to think about as you build out your business idea, such as finding the best name for your business, developing your business plan, and deciding how you’ll take bookings securely online with real-time availability. One big advantage in the tourism industry is also the ability to partner with resellers, distributors, and other tourism and travel businesses to grow your bookings faster. 

Rezdy supports you with both online bookings and an online marketplace developed specifically for the experiences industry. We’re also here to support you as you start your business – simply register for your free 21-day trial or book a demo with the Rezdy team to see how we can help your business.

You can also explore our Resources section to find industry-specific guides across business operations, marketing, and more, with a range of free ebooks available to help you save time and increase your bookings. If you enjoyed this article – 35+ tours and travels business ideas – then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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