Travel and Tourism Terms, Acronyms & Abbreviations

Every industry has its language; can you talk tourism?

We abbreviate words or phrases to save time, effort or space. This is great, but if you don’t know what the acronym or abbreviation stands for, it may feel like people are speaking a different language. For those of us in the tourism industry, like many others, we use a wide array of abbreviations and/or acronyms. Below are 21 travel and tourism terms used frequently.

Jump to a section:

Travel and Tourism Terms, Acronyms & Abbreviations

Travel and Tourism Terms

Accessible: Usable by all people. Whether a hotel, restaurant, or attraction can by enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, regardless of physical or other limitations.

Assets: The attractions, hotels and restaurants within a given region. Assets are what that area has to offer guests who visit.

Buyers: Travel Trade professionals who sell to consumers. They are tour operators, receptive operators, travel agents and OTAs (online travel agents). They look for destinations and attractions to package and sell to their customers.

CVBConvention and Visitors Bureau. Primarily the same thing as a DMO or TPA (see below).

DMO: Destination Marketing Organization. A destination marketing organization is an entity that promotes a town, city, region, or country to increase visitation. It promotes the development and marketing of a destination, focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing, and services. The primary goals of a DMO are to create and implement strategic marketing plans around tourism, to bring local tourism businesses together and to help them work collectively. This transforms a set of attractions, activities and services into a cohesive and compelling travel experience. For example, Break the Ice Media works with several DMOs, including Cayuga County Office of Tourism, Genesee County Office of Tourism and Visit Syracuse.

Implement strategic marketing plans


FAM: Familiarization Tour. FAMs are marketing initiatives, inviting either media or travel trade professionals to tour a region or destination. Experiencing it helps them write about it or sell it as a product to their customers. The activities on a FAM are typically shorter than what the actual visitor experiences. They provide a sampling of what is offered.

FIT: Foreign Independent Traveler. An international family or small group travelling to the USA. They arrive by airplane and usually rent cars for transportation.

Fly drive: A vacation package that includes air transportation and a rental car. Many international tourists (FITs) prefer to buy these types of packages to explore a destination.

Front-line staff: People who interact with and give service to customers, guests and visitors. For example, front desk staff at a hotel or a cashier at an attraction.

Group Leader: The person who accompanies and/or leads the people on a group tour. They work for the Group Tour Operator who sells the tour.

Group Tour Operator: A person who puts together vacation packages for groupsThey sell these packages as products to consumers. They also fit into the category of Buyers.

Tourism generated by visitors from foreign countries


Inbound operators: Agencies that specialize in providing tour packages to international travelers visiting the United States. Also known as Receptive Operators. Travel agents from foreign countries will work with an inbound receptive operator to find a travel package that suits their customers. A couple of examples are TourMappers and ATI, who we’ve worked with.

Inbound Tourism: Tourism generated by visitors from foreign countriesThis does not include domestic travel like visitors from drive markets and in-state visitors.

Itinerary: The planned route for a trip. This is what travel trade professionals sell to their customers. It’s a pre-planned experience with where to go, when, and what to expect when you get there.

Motorcoach: Large passenger bus. This is the vehicle most often used for people travelling with group travel tours.

Net Rate: Hotel room inventory sold via a third-party distributor at prices subject to commission. The Net Rate is the price for a hotel room without the commission of the third-party distributor. These distributors could be a travel agent, receptive operator or online travel agent. (See also, Rack Rate)

Create Itineraries for Foreign Independent Travelers


Partners: The people who own or manage the assets of a region. These partners work closely with their region’s DMO and benefit from tourism dollars spent at their establishments.

Rack Rate: Standard daily rate established for hotel rooms. This rate is typically public, printed on hotel brochures and listed on websites.

Suppliers: Tourism or Travel professionals who sell to businesses aka Buyers. They sell B2B (that means business to business). They work with tourism companies to promote their attraction or destination.

TPA: Tourism Promotion Agency. This is basically the same thing as a DMO. A government agency that promotes tourism in a specific county or region within a state.

Travel Advisor: Someone who assists consumers in booking trips. Previously called travel agents, travel advisors do more than book travel for people. The term agent switched to advisor to demonstrate how these professionals coordinate trips and help groups, families or individuals plan and book their travel.

Related Posts

Managing Expectations: Key Strategies for Destination Success

Managing expectations is not just a task – it’s an integral part of how destinations position themselves with travelers, partners and stakeholders. All relationships work…

Keep Reading

How DEI Initiatives Transform Destination Experiences

The landscape of DEI is shifting and the travel industry is no exception. According to a recent article in Travel Weekly, almost as suddenly as…

Keep Reading