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Tourism Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Accreditation is a process of qualifying, endorsing, and "licensing" entities that perform certification of businesses, products, processes, or services.

Attraction: Any visitor service or product which tourists would enjoy visiting or using. An attraction may not be an “attractor” but can still be an attraction. To be considered an attraction, a product must be: a. Findable (clearly located on maps and street addresses, and directions provided). If tourists can’t find the facility, it is not a tourist attraction.

Attractor: A significant tourist attraction, which compels visitation. The primary “must sees” in an area. The top reasons a tourist would choose to visit this area.

B

Back to back: A term used to describe tours operating on a consistent, continuing basis. For instance, a motorcoach arriving in a city from a cross-country tour may conclude the first tour upon arrival, then transport a second group back along the same route to the origination city of the first tour

Bed and breakfast (B&B): Overnight accommodations usually in a private home or boarding house, often with a full American-style or Continental breakfast included in one rate.

Bell captain: The person in charge of luggage at a hotel.

Benchmarking: The process of comparing performance and processes within an industry to assess relative position against either a set industry standard or against those who are “best in class” (Synergy, 2000).

Best practice(s): Used to designate highest quality, excellence, or superior practices in a particular field by a tourism operator.

Block: A number of rooms, seats, or space reserved in advance, usually by wholesalers, tour operators, or receptive operators who intend to sell them as components of tour packages.

Booking form: A document which purchasers of tours must complete to give the operator full particulars about who is buying the tour. It states exactly what is being purchased (including options) and must be signed as acknowledgment that the liability clause has been read and understood.

BPA: Blanket Purchase Agreement. These are agreements with vendors that allow buyers to make repetitive types of purchases over a period of time with a summarized bill sent by the vendor once a month.

Breakage: Expenses budgeted for a tour but not used or expended, thus resulting in additional profit to the tour operator. Examples include meals budgeted but not consumed, currency fluctuations in favor of the tour operator, or the tour selling to much larger numbers of passengers than expected.

Break-even point (BEP): The point at which revenues and expenses are the same. For example, the BEP is the number of products (or seats, cabins, tickets, etc.) that must be sold for a company to break even. The BEP is calculated as fixed costs divided by the selling price less variable costs. See reasonable number.

Break-even pricing: Pricing a product based on a forecast of the break-even point and the cost of achieving the break-even point.

Budgeted balance sheet: A budget that measures total assets and liabilities.

Budgeted income statement: A budget that tracks revenues and expenses. Also called the profit and loss statement.

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C

Carrier: A company that provides transportation services, such as motorcoach companies, airlines, cruise lines, and rental car agencies.

Carrying Capacity: Carrying capacity refers to the number of visitors that can adequately be accommodated with existing infrastructure including lodging, dining, public bathrooms, roads, parking, etc.

Certification: A voluntary procedure that assesses, monitors, and gives written assurance that a business, product, process, service, or management system conforms to specific requirements.

Chain-ratio method: A method for forecasting market demand by multiplying a base market figure by a series of consumption constraints.

Chamber of commerce: A DMO that operates at the local level and is comprised of businesses that are not necessarily associated with the tourism industry.

Charter: To hire the exclusive use of any aircraft, motorcoach, or other vehicle.

Community is people living in one place, district, state, or country (NEAP, 2000).

Confidential tariff: A schedule of wholesale rates distributed in confidence to travel wholesalers and travel agents.

Consolidator: A person or company which forms groups to travel on air charters or at group fares on scheduled flights to increase sales, earn override commissions or reduce the possibility of tour cancellations.

Consumer show: A product showcase for the general public. Differs from a “trade show” as a trade show generally targets industry professionals.

Conversion: Getting “heads in beds” or otherwise closing the sale. Differs from “hospitality.” Hospitality is being warm, friendly and helpful. Conversion is active selling.

Cooperative Agreement: A cooperative agreement is a written legal instrument reflecting a relationship between a Federal agency and a state or local government, tribal government, or other non-federal recipient in which the principle purpose is to transfer money, property, services, or anything of value to the state or local government or other recipient to stimulate or support a public purpose authorized by federal statute. Substantial involvement is anticipated between the federal agency and the recipient during performance of the contemplated activity.

Cultural tourism: Travel for the purpose of learning about cultures or aspects of cultures (NEAP, 2000).

Culture: The sum total of ways of living by a group of human beings that is transmitted from one generation to another (NEAP, 2000).

CVB: Convention and Visitors Bureau. (See also DMO).

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D

Day rate: Also called a day room. A reduced rate granted for the use of a guest room during the daytime, not overnight occupancy. Usually provided on a tour when a very late-night departure is scheduled.

Day tour: An escorted or unescorted tour that lasts less than 24 hours and usually departs and returns on the same day. See sightseeing tour.

Deadheading: Making a trip or a segment of a trip without passengers, such as driving an empty.
motorcoach somewhere.

Degradation: Any decline in the quality of natural or cultural resources, or the viability of ecosystems that is caused directly or indirectly by humans (NEAP, 2000).

Demand generators: Strategies and programs developed by DMOs and suppliers to generate destination demand. Examples include festivals, events, cultural tours, and consumer promotion.

Demands: A consumer’s wants backed by the ability to purchase.

Demographics: Population measures, such as age, gender, income, education, race/ethnicity, religion, marital status, household size, and occupation.

Departure point: The location or destination from which a tour officially begins.

Departure tax: Fee collected from a traveler by the host country at the time of departure.

Deposit policy: A specified amount or a percentage of the total bill due on a specified date prior to arrival.

Deposit: An advance payment required to obtain and confirm space.

Descriptive research: A form of marketing research that is used to provide detailed answers about customer markets.

Destination: The end point of a trip. This can be a town, a resort, or a stand-along attraction. The place to which a traveler is going; or any city, area, region or country be marketed as a single entity to tourists.

Destination alliance: A DMO that operates as a for-profit association of select suppliers who form a paid membership network to promote their services to travelers.

Destination management company (DMC): A for-profit company that operates similar to a CVB by providing planning and execution services for the convention and meeting market.

Destination Marketing Organization (DMO): A company or other entity involved in the business of increasing tourism to a destination or improving its public image.

Destination: The geographic place to which a traveler is going.

Direct flight: A flight that stops one or more times on the way to a destination, but does not require travelers to change planes.

Direct marketing: Sales and marketing communication that feature direct interaction between a company and its customers without any distribution intermediaries.

Directors: An industry council of the Travel Industry Association of America www.tourstates.com

Distance Learning: Any activity in which the learner participates in a resource education experience from a location remote from the resource in question and without the personal presence of a agency representative, i.e. internet, interactive CD teleconferencing.

DMC (Destination Management Company): A local company that handles arrangements for tours, meetings, transportation, etc. for groups originating elsewhere.

DMO (Destination Marketing Organization): A company or other entity involved in the business of increasing tourism to a destination or improving its public image(such as a convention and visitor bureau).

Docent: A tour guide who works free of charge at a museum.

Double double: A room with two double beds.

Double-occupancy rate: The price per person for a room to be shared with another person; the rate most frequently quoted in tour brochures.

Double-room rate: The full price of a room for two people (twice the double-occupancy rate.)

Downgrade: To move to a lesser level of accommodations or a lower class of service.

Driver-guide: A tour guide who does double duty by driving a vehicle while narrating.

Duty-free imports: Item amounts and categories specified by a government that are fee of tax or duty charges when brought into the country.

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E

Economic impact study: Research into the dollars generated by an industry and how these dollars impact the economy through direct spending and the indirect impact of additional job creation and the generation of income and tax revenue.

Ecotour: A tour designed to focus on preserving the environment, or to environmentally sensitive areas.

Ecotourism certification: Programs that cover businesses, services, and products that describe themselves as involved in ecotourism.

Ecotourism: Tourism “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people,” according to The International Ecotourism Society.

Educational programming: Activities conducted in partnership with formal education institutions and which seek to meet both the institution’s specific education outcomes and the agency’s resource stewardship goals.

Educational tour: A tour designed around an educational activity, such as studying art.

Educational/interpretive signage: Simple sign or label that provides basic information to aid visitor in orientation to or understanding of the location.

Errors and omissions insurance: Insurance coverage equivalent to malpractice insurance, protecting an agent’s or operator’s staff if an act of negligence, an error, or an omission occurs that causes a client great hardship or expense.

Escort: A person, usually employed by a tour operator, who accompanies a tour from departure to return as guide or trouble-shooter, or a person who performs such functions only at the destination. The terms hostescort or host are often used, and are preferred, to describe this service.

Escorted group tour: A group tour that features a tour director who travels with the group throughout the trip to provide sightseeing commentary and coordinate all group movement and activities.

Escorted service: A prearranged travel program, usually for a group, with escort service. Fully escorted tours may also use local guide services.

Escrow accounts: Funds placed in the custody of licensed financial institutions for safekeeping. Many contracts in travel require that agents and tour operators maintain customers’ deposits and prepayments in escrow accounts.

ESSTO: Educational Seminar for State Travel Officials.

Extension: A fully arranged sub-tour offered optionally at extra cost to buyers of a tour or cruise. Extensions may occur before, during, or after the basic travel program.

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F

FAM (familiarization) tour: A free or reduced-rate trip offered to travel professionals to acquaint them with what a destination, attraction, or supplier has to offer.

Familiarization Trip: A complimentary or reduced-rate travel program for travel agents, airline or rail employees or other travel buyers, designed to acquaint participants with specific destinations or suppliers and to stimulate the sale of travel. Familiarization tours, also called fam tours, are sometimes offered to journalists as research trips for the purpose of cultivating media coverage of specific travel products.

FIT: Acronym with multiple meanings. RTM has seen it used to mean the following: -Foreign individual traveler -Frequent individual traveler -Fully independent traveler - Usually a “FIT Package” will include lodging, meals, and attractions.

Fixed costs: Costs that don’t change with sales or production levels.

Fly/drive tour: A F.I.T. package that always includes air travel and a rental car and sometimes other travel components.

Folio: An itemized record of a guest’s charges and credits which is maintained in the front office until departure. Also referred to as a guest bill or guest statement.

Foreign Independent Travel or Foreign Individual Travel - FIT: An international pre-paid unescorted tour that includes several travel elements such as accommodations, rental cars and sightseeing. An FIT operator specializes in preparing FITs documents at the request of retail travel agents. FITs usually receive travel vouchers to present to on-site services as verification of prepayment.

Frequent Independent Travel (F.I.T.): A custom-designed, prepaid travel package with many individualized arrangements. F.I.T. are unescorted and usually have no formal itinerary.

Fulfillment piece: Promotional literature, video, or other material that is sent in response to an inquiry. Usually contains full trip planning information.

Full house: A hotel with all guest rooms occupied.

Function room: A special room that is used primarily for private parties, banquets, and meetings. Also called banquet rooms.

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G

Gateway city: City with an international airport.

Gateway: City, airport, or area from which a flight or tour departs.

Geotourism (1998): Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographic character of the place being visited--its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents

GLAMER: Group Leaders of America Travel Show www.glamer.com

GPS: A Global Positioning System is a satellite-based radio navigation system developed and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). GPS permits land, sea, and airborne users to determine their three dimensional position, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather, anywhere in the world with a precision and accuracy far better than other radio navigation systems available today or in the foreseeable future.

Ground operator: A company that provides local travel services, including transportation or guide services.

Group leader: An individual who has been given the responsibility of coordinating tour and travel arrangements for a group. The group leader may act as a liaison to a tour operator or may develop a tour independently (and sometimes serve as the tour director).

Group rate: A special discounted rate charged by suppliers to groups. Also called tour rate.

Group tour and group leader: Group Tour: A travel agent type company which plans motorcoach trips. Group Leader: A small, informal group, such as a church group, scout troop, or social group. Usually one person plans the activities for the group. Some travel shows target these planners such as GLAMER.

Group tour: A travel package for an assembly of travelers that has a common itinerary, travel date, and transportation. Group tours are usually prearranged, prepaid, and include transportation, lodging, dining, and attraction admissions. See also escorted group tour.

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H

Hospitality: A general term used in travel & tourism describing the “hospitality industry”; refers to the general greeting, welcoming, food service, etc.

Hotel Package: A package offered by a hotel, sometimes consisting of no more than a room and breakfast; sometimes, especially at resort hotels, consisting of (ground) transportation, room, meals, sports facilities and other components.

HSMAI: Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International www.hsmai.org , www.abt-travel.com

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I

Incentive tour: A trip offered as a prize, usually by a company to stimulate employee sales or productivity.

Inquiry: A request for more information about an attraction or destination.

International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (IACVB): Worldwide association of convention and visitors bureaus, based in Washington, DC. www.iacvb.org

Interpretation: Print materials, signage, narration, guided tours, and anything that “interprets” the site for the visitor. Interpretation helps the customer “interpret” the experience and explains why a particular product is valuable. Interpretation adds value and meaning to the experience. Common interpretation techniques used in ecotourism include commentary on guided tours, presentations and discussions, drama performance, musical performance, brochures, signs, displays, and audiovisual presentations (NEAP, 2000).

Interpretative Programming: Activities conducted in a recreational environment which seek to connect the participants to the meanings and values of the resource being experienced.

Itinerary: Travel schedule provided by a travel agent for his/her customer. A proposed or preliminary itinerary may be rather vague or specific. A final itinerary however provides all details (flight numbers, departure times, reservation confirmation numbers) and describes planned activities.

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L

Life Cycle assessment: A variant of an EMS that tracks a product, process or activity from “cradle to grave.” In the tourism industry, it assesses the use of resources and social and environmental impact during three phases: 1) departure and return travel, 2) stay at the destination, and 3) activities at the destination.

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M

Mass or mainstream tourism: Terms commonly but loosely used to refer to popular forms of leisure tourism pioneered in southern Europe, the Caribbean, and North America in the 1960s and 1970s.

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N

NAGPRA: Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act 25 U.S.C. 3001, Pub. L. 101-601 (November 16, 1990). This act provides for consultation with native American tribes and native Hawaiian organizations regarding the cultural affiliation, ownership, and disposition of human remains and associated material culture which are excavated or discovered on federal lands. The Act also provides defines criminal penalties for illegal trafficking in Native American human remains and cultural items.

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 16 U.S.C. 470 et seq. (1966), 80 Stat. 915, Pub. L. 89-665: This Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to "expand and maintain a national register of districts, sites, building, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, and culture" and to dispense matching grants-in-aid to the states for historical surveys, preservation plans, and the acquisition and development of historic properties.

Nature tourism: Travel to unspoiled places to experience and enjoy nature.

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O

Off-site programming: Educational or interpretive activities conducted by agency personnel outside the agency’s unit jurisdictional boundary.

On-site Programming: Educational or interpretive activities conducted by agency personnel within agency’s unit jurisdictional boundary.

ORV: Off-road vehicles are any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain; except that such term excludes (1) any registered motorboat, (2) any military, fire, ambulance or law enforcement vehicle when used for emergency purposes and (3) any vehicle whose use is authorized by the Chief of Engineers, or his properly designated representative, under a permit, lease, license or contract.

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P

Package Tour: A saleable travel product offering an inclusive price with several travel elements that would otherwise be purchased separately. Usually has a predetermined price, length of time and features but can also offer options for separate purchase.

Packager: Anyone organizing a tour including prepaid transportation and travel services, usually to more than one destination.

Partnership: Two persons who dance together. A relationship between one or more parties involving close cooperation in exercise of specific rights and responsibilities.

Product Extension: An add-on product or service, which enhances the experience of your product and generates additional revenue. Example - A state park that offers guided wildflower tours (for a fee).

Product Life Cycle: The cyclical pattern of demand for most products from “new and exciting” to “old and dated.” Almost all products (tourism and otherwise) have these cycles.

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R

Rack card: The typical tourism brochure sized 4” x 9” and used primarily in tourism racks. Also known as a “teaser.”

Rack rate: The official cost posted by a hotel, attraction or rental car, but not used by tour operators.

Reassurance sign: When trying to locate an attraction, especially when the route is long and unclear, it is critical to offer “reassurance signs” that tell the visitor they are indeed going the right way.

Receptive operator: Someone who plans to “receive” your motorcoach or tour group. They may plan your lodging, meals, attraction visits, etc. for a fee or commission. A tour operator or travel agent specializing in services for incoming visitors, such as meeting them at the airport and facilitating their transfer to lodging facilities.

Reconnaissance: An on-site evaluation of an attraction or destination from the perspective of the customer. Best performed by an outsider who is not familiar with the location and who is trained in fair and scientific methods of evaluation.

Retail agency: Travel company selling directly to the public, sometimes a subdivision of a wholesale and/or retail travel organization.

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S

Scheduled flights: Air flights that are publicly scheduled and promoted by major airlines.

Scheduled tour: A tour that’s set in a tour operator’s regular schedule of tour departures and that’s often sold to the general public. Also called public tour or retail tour.

Secondary information: Research data that was collected by another company or person and usually for a purpose that’s different than the research objectives and tasks at hand.

Shells: Preprinted brochures with photos, illustrations, and graphics but no text; also called slicks.

Shore excursion: A land tour, usually available at ports of call, sold by cruise lines or tour operators to cruise passengers.

Shoulder season: Those periods between the peak and off season when destination demand is moderate.

SHPO: State Historic Preservation Officer.

Sightseeing companies: Organizations that provide local guided tours.

Sightseeing guide: See driver/guide.

Sightseeing tour: Short excursions of usually a few hours that focus on sightseeing and/or attraction visits.

Simple random sample: A sample that draws a group of respondents randomly from all members of the population.

Special event tour: A travel package that features major happenings, such as concerts or sporting events, as the reason for the journey.

Split itinerary: An itinerary in which part of the group does one thing while the other part does something else.

Stakeholders: Parties who may be affected by agency decisions and actions (i.e., user groups, elected officials, commercial interests, environmentalists, park managers, tourism industry representatives, consumers, host countries, host communities, funders and financiers, and others).

Standard: A document approved by a recognized body that provides for common and repeated use of a prescribed set of rules, conditions, or requirements (Toth, 2000).

Step-on guide: A highly knowledgeable guide whom “steps-on” an incoming motorcoach and provides narrative interpretation for the experience. Some CVBs offer step-on guides for free. Sometimes an independent company offers this service for a fee.

Strategic plan: A report that describes a company’s mission statement, goals, objectives and strategic actions.

Subcontractor: A local operator who provides services for a wholesaler.

Supplier: The actual producer and seller of a unit of travel merchandise, such as a carrier, hotel or sightseeing operator.

Sustainable development: That which “meets the needs of the present without Compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainable tourism certifications: Programs that measure a range of environmental, socio-cultural, and economic equity issues both internally (within the business, service, or product) and externally (on the surrounding community and physical environment).

Sustainable tourism: According to the World Tourism Organization, “envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled with maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.”

SWOT analysis: A summary of a company’s strengths and weaknesses, and the environmental opportunities and threats that will most influence it.

System: A voluntary building rating system that evaluates environmental performance from a "whole building" perspective over a building's life cycle. A program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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T

Target market: The group of customers who will be the focus of a company’s marketing efforts

Tariff: (1) Fare or rate from a supplier; (2) Class or type of a fare or rate; (3) Published list of fares or rates from a supplier; (4) Official publication compiling rates or fares and conditions of service.

Teaser piece: A teaser piece can either be a rack brochure (*see “rack brochure” above), or a mailer, giveaway, or some other promotional piece that is intended to “tease” the receiver into taking a specific action.

Telemarketing: Direct marketing via the telephone.

Theme tour: A tour that’s designed around a concept of specific interest to the tour takers, such as history or sports.

TIA: Travel Industry Association of America www.tia.org.

Tickler system: A method for monitoring reservations and payments that’s arranged by date and points out late payments so customers can be contacted.

Tiered pricing: When suppliers offer different prices to receptive operators, tour operators, and group leaders, so each party can earn a profit by marking up the supplier's price while still offering a fair price to customers.

Tour operator: A company that creates and/or markets inclusive tours and/or performs tour services.

Tour: Any prearranged (but not necessarily prepaid) journey to one or more places and back to the point of origin.

Tourism certification programs: These included AAA (Automobile Association of America) and have typically measured and compared quantity, service, and price, areas deemed most important to travelers.

Tourism Industries, US Department of Commerce: The federal agency responsible for tracking and analyzing international visitation to the United States. http://tinet.ita.doc.gov

Tourism: Travel undertaken for pleasure. The business of providing and marketing services and facilities for pleasure travelers. Thus, the concept of tourism is of direct concern to governments, carriers, and the lodging, restaurant and entertainment industries and of indirect concern to virtually every industry and business in the world.

Trade show: A product showcase for a specific industry. Generally it is not open to the public. Differs from a “Consumer Show” in that a trade show targets the professional industry, while a consumer show targets consumers.

Trailblazing signage: Signs to aid the public in arriving at a particular location.

Travel agent: The individual who sells travel services, issues tickets and provides other travel services to the travel services to the traveler sat the retail level.

Travel Industry Association of America (TIA): The non-profit umbrella trade organization of companies and government agencies representing all segments of the travel industry formed to promote travel to and within the US. www.tia.org

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U

Upgrade: To move to a better accommodation or class of service.

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V

Value season: See off-season.

Value: The relationship between the benefits associated with a product or service and the costs of obtaining the product or service.

Value-added tax (VAT): A type of tax system which adds a fixed percentage of taxation on products and services at each step of production or service delivery.

Value-based pricing: Pricing a product based on buyer perceptions of value rather than actual product costs.

Variable costs: Costs that change with sales or production levels.

Variance report: A summary of how much a company has gone above or below budget.

VFR: Visiting friends and relatives.

VFRM: Visiting friends and relatives of the military.

Visa: Stamp of approval recorded in a traveler’s passport to enter a country for a specific purpose.

Volume incentive: See override.

Volume purchase: The purchase of large quantities of a product or service.

Voluntary initiatives: Initiatives within the tourism industry are not legally required or binding.

Voucher: Documents that are exchanged for goods and service to substantiate payment that will be or already has been made.

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W

Waitlist: A list of clients awaiting transportation or accommodations at times when they are not available. Waitlisted clients are confirmed as a result of subsequent cancellations.

Wants: Ways in which a person satisfies a basic need.

Wayfinding signage: Signs to aid the public in orienting themselves geographically within a specific location and which identify functional units within the location.

Wholesale: Sale of travel products through an intermediary in exchange for a commission or fee generally at reduced tariffs.

Wholesaler: A company that purchases large blocks of rooms, tickets, etc. and then resells to either the public or to other travel professionals. A company that usually creates and markets inclusive tours and FITS for sale through travel agents. Usually sells nothing at retail (as opposed to a travel agent who can sell any product)., but also does not always create his/her own product; also less likely to perform local services.

Word-of-mouth promotion: Personal communication about a product or service from one customer to another.

WTM: World Travel Market.

WTO stands for two international organizations: 1) the World Tourism Organization, a UN-related institution based in Madrid that collects data on tourism and lobbies on behalf of the industry; and 2) the World Trade Organization.

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