Business & Finance

Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

Your Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

Writing for WikiHow, Claire Fess provides eight steps on how to start a tourism business.

Definition: Tourists are people who travel outside of their home-base environments in order to spend time visiting a different environment in either a business or leisure capacity. Both vacationers and those on business trips are considered tourists, and they may be touring either domestically (within their home country) or internationally. A tourism business is any business that centers on catering to tourists’ needs.

Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

Step 1: Decide on which sector of tourism you would like to focus.

You have several options to choose from when it comes to establishing a business in tourism:

  • Transportation service. This sector involves transporting tourists to, from and around the tourist destination.
  • Travel agencies. Travel agencies are the 1-stop-shop for everything involved with visiting a place, including transportation, accommodations and attractions.
  • Tour Operator. A tour operator typically combines tour and travel components to create a holiday. They prepare an itinerary.
  • Destination Management Company. A DMC possesses extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources, specialising in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics.
  • Accommodation. These include hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, hostels, rental houses, lodges and any other place tourists may stay while travelling.
  • Guided tours and tourist guide. A guided tour service or professional tourist guide is a tourism business that specializes in providing informative and entertaining tours through an area’s local attractions.
  • Hospitality. A hospitality business pertains to any food or beverage establishment that tourists may frequent.

Step 2: Take your geographical location into account.

Your local tourist attractions are good indicators of what would and would not make a successful tourism business venture. For example, if your area is secluded from the populace and dense with wineries, then guided winery tours, local bed and breakfasts, and airport transportation services are all viable business options.

Step 3: Size up the competition.

Thoroughly research the tourism businesses in your area before you decide which business in tourism is right for you. You will want to choose a tourism sector that is not overly congested, and one that you can contribute something unique to.

Step 4: Write a business plan.

Your business plan is the blueprint for your tourism business, and should include the following sections:

  • Executive summary. Describe your business’s purpose, name, location, personnel needs, tourism business management staff, market sector, competition, marketing plan and financial projections.
  • Tourism business summary. This should detail how the business’s ownership will be distributed and the start up requirements (funding, assets and location).
  • Products and/or services. You need to outline the products and/or services your business will be providing for tourists.
  • Analysis of the market. Provide information about your target market and your competition. Tourism business strategy. Describe how you plan on running your business, marketing your business and pricing your product or service.
  • Financial summary. State your projections for your business’s expenses and income.

Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

Step 5: Procure the necessary funds.

Present your business plan to potential lenders and/or business partners in order to obtain the start up and operating capital you will need to run your business in tourism.

Step 6: Select a business location.

If you plan to operate a walk-in travel agency or an accommodation establishment, there are 3-things to consider. They are location, location, and location!

Step 7: Obtain all applicable business licenses.

Get the necessary business licensing through your local government’s business regulatory agency.

Step 8: Market your tourism business:

  • Use social networking sites. Set up accounts/pages on free social networking sites such as Linked In.
  • Create a website for your tourism business. Be sure to hire a specialist for search engine optimization (SEO) in order to maximize your site’s online presence. List your business on all applicable online directories and review websites.
  • Advertise in print mediums. Take out ad space in newspapers, magazines and trade/lifestyle publications.


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