Inbound tour operators provide a vital link between the suppliers of New Zealand tourism product and the overseas travel companies which buy it.

As specialists in inbound tourism, they promote and sell New Zealand travel packages to offshore buyers such as wholesalers, travel agents, meeting planners and event managers.

They also play an important role as tourism ‘brokers’ for overseas travel companies, providing a wide range of services including advice on product, price and availability, coordination of travel arrangements and payments, and supervision of product delivery.

The inbound tour operator’s skill is to understand the interests, needs and cultures of overseas markets, and keep abreast of New Zealand product development. Through their work in generating bookings for suppliers and handling land arrangements for overseas travel companies, they make a substantial contribution to New Zealand’s rapidly growing inbound tourism industry.

Many people assume tour operators only look after group package tours. This is no longer so – tour operators now cater for the growing number of Free and Independent Travellers (FITs) who often purchase simple airfare/accommodation packages.

Tourism Export Council provides more information and a list of member Inbound Tourism Operators. These operators are all Qualmark members having undertaken an assessment by the New Zealand tourism industry’s official quality assurance program. This has included reviewing their health and safety, operational, customer service and sustainable business practices.