In 2016, close to 40,000 Canadians were employed in the travel services industry.
Travel services employees make individual or group reservations for accommodations, tours, transportation, food and beverage, and/or for attractions if they are employed by an organization that is established to provide such services. Other employees in this industry work for organizations that plan special events such as conferences, major meetings, trade shows, and conventions.
There are many different employment opportunities in the travel services. Those who sell directly, such as travel counsellors, and those who provide guest services, such as tourism visitor information counsellors and tour guides. The direct selling occupations are categorized further into two groups: retail travel agencies and wholesale tour operators.
Retail Travel Agencies
Travel agencies employ travel agents who sell packages to individuals, groups or businesses; these packages may include airline tickets, car rentals, hotel reservations, meals, and entries to sites and attractions. With the advent of electronic purchasing and the threat to small independent travel agencies, there are increasing numbers of larger consortiums and the like offering employment to travel agents.
Wholesale Tour Operators
Tour operators and wholesalers develop and package tours to sell to retail travel agencies for inbound travel to Canada or for outbound travel to other destinations. Often these are all-inclusive tours that include travel, accommodation, meals, and entertainment, and focus on a niche, like employee incentive travel or convention-related or special-interest travel (theatre, sports, or bird-watching tours). Wholesale tour operators may work independently or may be affiliated with an air or motor coach line or other travel-related business.