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A tour operator is any person who owns a business which transports paying tourists on scheduled itineraries and makes arrangements for their clients in terms of accommodation, transport and excursions. These businesses often own vehicles to transport tourists and the owners of these enterprises often accompany tour parties.

 There are three categories of tour operators:

•   In-bound tour operators: provide services mainly for foreign visitors to South Africa;

•   Out-bound tour operators (Cross-Border Tour operators): provide services to clients in South Africa wishing to travel to destinations outside the country;

•   Local tour operators: provide services to domestic clients for tours within South Africa.