The Travel Agent and Tour Operators are normally two separate service providers handling different parts of the journey, not always exclusive but the difference does lie in the service they provide.
From the consumer’s point of view, the big change happened in 1992, and since then anyone who is offering services for travel is liable based on their stake and expected profit which they are expecting. This is a great development for the consumer side as now financial responsibility for the potential liability is divided among every party responsible.
The Tour Operators provide much more detailed services which you require from every little thing during the visit. It might not seem a huge difference but both of these parties are at different ends in case of any liability etc. As the travel agents don’t have huge stakes to the whole journey, being just a go-between, so they are taking a commission for their services. In case of dissatisfaction or problem, they might not be facing huge lawsuits as they are not the primary sellers.
The main difference between them is the scope. The Travel Agents provide specific services unless one asks for them to handle other things, they act as go between the airlines and travelers. It is expected that the travel agents most of the time have business inside their own office and don’t have any stakes in the running of tours, or are not attached to the actual facilities and services.
The difference between Agents and Tour operators can also be seen in the way they are being paid. The agents are given commissions for their services for normal things like air tickets etc. The bill of the agent is often very small compared to.
The services of both the tour operator and travel agents are essentially related so some of the organizations start to take both activities. This however rarely occurs as the tasks of Tour Operators are huge as compared to the Travel Agent.