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A tour consultant is a travel professional who helps individuals and groups design and organize travel plans. In some cases, he or she works with individual clients who want to carefully plan a vacation in an unfamiliar area, while others will help groups, such as churches or schools, arrange tours. The tour consultant will typically help clients find accommodations and transportation and identify destinations for sightseeing and other activities. A specialty tour consultant may also help to arrange for educational opportunities or venues for performing arts groups. Some tourism companies may also require their consultants to assume a sales role in addition to their work in arranging itineraries.
While some people are very good at planning trips, others need some assistance, particularly if their trip has a particular focus or if they are leading a group of people. Coordinating travel for a large group can be particularly challenging, and many people may need the services of an expert consultant to do so. In such situations, the tour consultant may be aware of transportation options or sleeping accommodations that are not typically advertised to the general public. With this information, the tour consultant can make it easier for a large group to tour together. During the tour, the consultant may be available by telephone or email to assist the group if there are any difficulties.
In some cases, a tour consultant may specialize in a particular type of travel. For example, some consultants may work with schools that offer travel as part of their curriculum. These tour consultants may themselves have experience working as educators and can assist in developing a tour that meets specific educational objectives. Others may specialize in working with musical or theater groups, helping to book these performers in venues and coordinating every aspect of travel, including transportation of both the performers and their equipment. As these groups can be very large and are often on a strict timetable, their tour consultant may work closely with hotels and restaurants to make sure that the performers can be checked into their accommodations and fed in an efficient manner.
The requirements to become a tour consultant vary, but typically include licensing or certification as a travel agent. In addition, the consultant may hold a variety of industry specialist credentials and may have additional training in various aspects of the travel industry, including adventure travel. The consultant may also have in-depth knowledge of specific destinations, allowing him or her to more efficiently develop an itinerary and select several options for sightseeing and other activities.