GCSE Leisure and Tourism

Key components of the tourism industry

Activity 1 – Read the information below and make notes (click here if you are not sure how to take notes)


What is tourism?

Tourism is the travel for recreation, leisure, religious, family business purposes, usually of a limited duration. Tourism is commonly associated with trans-national travel, but may also refer to travel to another location within the same country. The World Tourism Organisation defines tourists as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”.

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK. 1.45 million jobs are directly related to tourism – this means that 5% of all people employed in the UK have a job related to tourism. More information about jobs in the tourism industry can be found here


What are the 6 categories of the tourism industry?



Tourism components


Travel agents 

travel agent

There are 3 main types of travel agent in the UK. Travel agents sell holidays face to face, online and over the phone.

The 3 main types of travel agent are:

  • Multiples – a travel agent with 100s of branches – e.g: Thomas Cook, First Choice
  • Miniples – a travel agent with more than 5 branches but less than 100. Miniple travel agents are usually based in a local area – e.g: Althams 
  • Independents – a travel agent with less than 5 branches. Independent travel agents are small and are usually run by an individual or a small group of people – e.g: Andrew Earle’s World of Travel 

A travel agent sells the holidays which are designed and put into brochures by Tour operators.


Tour operators 

tour operator

A tour operator puts holidays together including things like accommodation and flights and puts them into brochures. These holidays are then sold to customers through travel agents.

Examples of tour operators include Thomson holidays, Tui travel and Virgin holidays.


Tourist information

tourist infomation

There are over 500 tourist information centres in England. They are found in most tourist destinations, including cities, seaside towns and the countryside. They can also be found in airports and train stations.

Tourist information centres offer advice to tourists on where to visit, timetables for public transport and they also usually contain a small shop where souvenirs and guide books can be purchased.


Online travel services 

Vacations Computer Key For Booking And Finding Holidays Online

Online travel companies include travel companies and airlines which only take bookings online. Online travel services also include travel insurance and price comparison sites.

Examples of online travel services include: 

  • Expedia
  • Jet2.com
  • Secret escapes
  • Trivago


Accommodation and catering


Accommodation is divided into 2 main types: 

  • Serviced – where meals are or can be provided e.g: hotels
  • Non-serviced or self catering – where customers can cook for themselves e.g: Caravans and self catering cottages

Hotels, B&Bs and self catering accommodation in England are graded using a star rating system. Usually, the higher the star rating (up to 5) the better the facilities will be, but also the higher the cost will be.

Catering can include any food and drink during a holiday or trip. This could be from a restaurant, in a hotel or small food vans.




The 4 main types of transportation are: 

  • Air – either by aeroplane or helicopter
  • Sea – can include ferries, hovercraft and cruise ships
  • Road – can include hired cars, coaches, buses and bikes
  • Rail – can include trains, trams and the EuroStar (Channel tunnel)

Once customers have reached their main destination, they can also use different transport methods such as cable cars, chair lifts and glass-bottomed boats.

More information about travel methods can be found here and here


Activity 2 – Check your learning and complete the quiz

Leaderboard: Key Components of the Tourism Industry

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Key Components of the Tourism Industry

Check your learning with this quiz about the key components of the tourism industry

Activity 3 – Complete the Exam Questions Below

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Question 2

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Question 3

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