CATO - Canadian Association of Tour Operators

About The Travel Industry

Sometimes there can be confusion over the difference in functions between Tour Operators or Travel Agents or Suppliers.

Tour Operators or Wholesalers are the organizers and providers of package holidays. They make arrangements and contracts with hoteliers, airlines, and other Suppliers, and then promote and sell those assembled travel packages, most often through Travel Agents.

Outbound Tour Operators generally specialize in the provision of travel packages to foreign or trans-border destinations.

Inbound or Receptive Tour Operators usually specialize in the provision of tour packages to travellers from other countries.

Many larger Tour Operators offer a variety of Outbound as well as Inbound tour package products.

Travel Agents or Retailers provide advice and travel products to the consumer and generally sell and administer the bookings for a number of Tour Operators. Travel Agents can also sell the individual Supplier 'components' (e.g. flights, ferry bookings, car hire, etc...) for those who choose to travel independently.

Suppliers are providers of individual travel elements, such as airlines, cruise lines, hotels, car rental companies, coach & rail companies, travel insurance providers, etc...


CATO Members are mostly registered in Ontario and/or Québec, and/or British Columbia where Provincial Travel Protection Laws are in place. CATO members from other provinces must ensure they operate within the regulations and requirements of their home provinces.

Look for the CATO Logo - The Mark of Professionalism in Travel



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