List of the best associations in the tourism industry
April 2, 2021
minutes of reading
If you are starting your business in tourism and you feel a little lonely or have gaps or lack of preparation or support, you are strongly advised to join a tourism association.
Being part of an organization or a community will help you greatly. These associations are there to accompany you in the development of your business, they are professionals in the tourism industry who advise, train, represent and defend you.
There are thousands of associations around the world dedicated to the tourism sector, from DMCs and MICEs to FIT, GIT and incentive travel agencies and agents. Take a look at our list below and choose the ones that best suit you.
What are tourism industry associations?
The associations unites the travel and tourism research community – university academics, professional practitioners, and users of research – so they can network, collaborate, and ideate in person and across borders.
This association was created more than 70 years ago and is the leading travel association in the UK. Its 80-strong team primarily provides advice to its members in promoting responsible tourism in the UK and abroad.
The federation was born in 2020 from the merger of the three historical federations of institutional tourism players, Offices de Tourisme de France, Tourisme & Territoires and Destination Régions. By bringing together representatives of the three territorial levels in metropolitan France and the French overseas territories, it represents the combined strengths of nearly 1,100 organizations and 11,500 employees at the national level.
It is a professional network of actors and specialists of fair and solidarity tourism, created in 2006. It gathers more than 30 travel producers, tourism operators in France and associated members, all committed to making tourism a lever for development and solidarity with local populations and actors.
Constituted in 1964, the association created by Professionals of Tourism, gathers the physical or moral persons, intervening in the sector of tourism, to the travel agents and other operators of the sale of trips and stays.
Since 1972, it has represented the international tourism industry with the objective of facilitating the growth of the inbound tourism business in Australia. Their mission is to bring together buyers and sellers in the tourism industry through events.
Founded in 1990, this association is the world's largest network of adventure tourism leaders, with over 100 members. The connections and creativity of this community come together both virtually and in person, their solution propels your business into a responsible and profitable future.
Founded in 2011, it promotes the United States as a premier travel destination, with over 900 partner organizations to invite the world to explore the destinations and experiences available in the United States of America.
This association was established 30 years ago to bring together the coach tourism industry and promote coach travel and tourism. It has over 300 members in the coach tourism industry and maintains relationships between organizations mainly in the UK.
The fee varies between £75-550, depending on your category.
An association with a comprehensive site consisting of separate micro-sites for travellers, travel agents, tour operators, business event planners and the media; Destination Canada promotes its country and what it has to offer. For tour operators and travel agents, this organization works to help you develop your skills across Canada by providing resources, training and other learning opportunities.
EDV (formerly SNAV) was created in 1945 and considers itself to be an interlocutor of the public authorities for all professions related to tourism. Its goal is to support the development of companies through its representation, studies and training activities.
This association aims to be a pioneer in the study, promotion and practice of accessible tourism in Europe. Their mission is to make European tourism destinations, products and services accessible to all travellers, and to promote accessible tourism worldwide.
For more than 30 years, ETOA has been a trade association dedicated to creating a fair and sustainable business environment to keep Europe competitive and attractive. With over 1,200 members, their voice is powerful and impactful. They provide a networking platform and offer a calendar of high-level B2B events to support the recovery of European tourism.
Fáilte Ireland's role is to support the long-term sustainable growth of the economic, social, cultural and environmental contribution of tourism in Ireland. The association works in partnership with government, local authorities and industry groups to develop tourism throughout the country and invest in tourism infrastructure, activities and attractions. It also provides buyer platforms and training to help tourism businesses innovate and grow.
This council manages the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) criteria, global standards for travel and sustainable tourism, and the provision of international accreditation for sustainable tourism certification bodies. The primary goal of the council is to be an agent of change in the world of travel and sustainable tourism by promoting greater knowledge, understanding, adoption and demand for sustainable tourism practices. We also touched on the subject of sustainable tourism in this article listing the 8 Best Ways to Boost The Sustainability In Your Trips. Head out on our social media profiles to share your point of view.
HEDNA is a global community of hospitality professionals, technology providers, educators and consultants passionate about elevating the role of retail. Its mission is to simplify and facilitate the professional connections, education and knowledge necessary for a successful career in these sectors.
Founded in 1983, IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association, is the world's first network of tourism businesses welcoming travellers from the LGBTQ+ community. They provide free travel resources and information while continually working to promote equality and safety for the LGBTQ+ community when travelling in over 80 countries.
ITAC, or ATAC in French (Association Touristique Autochtone du Canada) is the world leader in the marketing and development of Aboriginal tourism experiences. ITAC's members are Aboriginal-owned and operated businesses in every province and territory in the country. The association's goal is to improve the socio-economic situation of Aboriginal people in Canada's 10 provinces and 3 territories by providing services to Aboriginal tourism operators and communities, or those seeking to start a tourism business on their own.
Founded in 1997, it has over 2500 accredited golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, inbound operators, airlines, tourist boards, accredited media and trade partners. The association's member operators control more than 90% of the holiday packages that include golf. It strives to provide information and create opportunities that help its members develop their business faster, with less effort and at lower cost.
Established in 1959, the association aims to improve the quality of services provided to travellers to and from Japan. It also contributes to the development of the travel and tourism industry by disseminating vital information and encouraging cooperation among all members. It has over 1200 active members.
KATO, established in 1978, is one of Kenya's leading tourism trade associations. It represents the interests of over 300 of the country's most experienced tour operators. Its membership includes both large and small operators.
The Latin American Tourism Association, a growing association of more than 360 companies including tourism boards, airlines, hotels and other tour operators, aims to promote Latin America as a tourist destination and to stimulate the growth of travel in the region. Its members represent a community of travel experts with unrivalled knowledge of Latin America.
It seeks to be the UK's leading authority on Latin American travel and tourism, and to improve standards and best practice.
Since 1982, the association has aimed to promote and develop tourism in the Maldives. It strives to minimise challenges and maximise opportunities within the industry through engagement and mediation. It also coordinates all mandatory governmental decision-making bodies to align new laws and regulations with the best practices of tourism in the Maldives.
A non-profit organisation, the Malaysian Golf Tourism Association aims to introduce Malaysia to the international community as Asia's best-kept secret when it comes to golf holidays. Its main aim is to attract more tourists to Malaysia and introduce them to the magnificent array of golf courses: from mountains to beaches, and from cities to rainforests.
It is the leading trade association for companies and organisations serving customers travelling to, from and within North America. Its 700 buyer members are tour operators and travel organisers who offer more than 500 destinations and represent products in all 50 U.S. states, every Canadian province and more than 40 other countries.
Founded in 1951, this non-profit association acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia-Pacific region. It brings together members from the public and private sectors to facilitate partnerships to enhance the value, quality and sustainable growth of travel and tourism in the region.
PURE is an association that promotes experiential tourism. It is a large community that reflects an attitude, commitment and belief that travel can be more than just an industry. The primary goal is to bring together a diverse and evolving group of individuals to share their knowledge and experience by looking at the challenges of their businesses from a different perspective.
It is New Zealand's first association of regional tourism organisations. Funded by its members who represent the interests of all regional bodies in the country, it aims to encourage better co-ordination and ensure that communities engage and consult on issues critical to the development of the tourism sector in New Zealand.
This association, founded in 1998, lists over 1,250 safari camps and lodges throughout Southern Africa. It provides detailed information to over 5652 independent travel agents, receptive agencies and other tour operators specialising in safari.
A non-profit association founded in 1969, it represents the private tourism sector in Southern Africa. Their aim is to create a dynamic grouping of quality tourism providers in the region, and to provide international buyers with advice and information on quality tourism partners in the Southern African inbound tourism industry. It also represents its members to various governments and NGOs regarding the impact their laws and decisions will have on the region's inbound tourism industry.
Signature Travel Network is an exclusive network of the world's leading expert travel consultants. Founded by a group of like-minded agency owners in 1956, it continues to attract the most successful people in the travel industry.
SYTA is the first non-profit association that promotes student and youth travel, and encourages integrity and professionalism among travel service providers. Its primary goal is to provide enriching travel experiences for students and youth by setting standards of quality and safety for travel providers. They empower their members through advocacy, education, training and networking.
It is an association of independent incoming operators specialising in land-based programmes for the world's leading cruise lines. Members are elected by invitation only and with the unanimous consent of existing members. The selection criteria are largely based on the reputation of the candidate, which guarantees the quality of the association.
It is an awareness-raising initiative that aims to educate travellers around the world about the harmful effects of using disposable plastic water bottles and therefore encourage travellers to be prepared to clean their own drinking water. Their vision is to catalyse a global self-sufficient movement, which will result in the virtual elimination of travellers' reliance on disposable plastic water bottles.
Established in 1977, it is the only trade association that represents the interests of the UK inbound tourism sector and ensures that it is recognised as one of the key drivers of the UK economy and employment. It ensures that its 300+ members are successful and profitable businesses in a dynamic and sustainable industry despite what Brexit may suggest.
It was founded in 1972 by a small group of California tour operators concerned about tour operator bankruptcies. These founding members recognised the need for a unified voice to protect the travelling public and to represent the interests of tour operators.
With over 20,000 consultants, Virtuoso is the world's leading network of luxury and experiential travel agencies. They partner with more than 1,800 of the world's top companies such as hotels, cruise lines, tour operators and more. Their consultants use their personal relationships and first-hand expertise to create customised trips for clients.
The organization was created in 2012 from the global and collective aspirations of Indigenous interests in tourism and is an Indigenous initiative that is based on key Indigenous human rights, including the rights to self-determination, self-government, and the right to maintain and develop their own rights, institutions, and to maintain and develop cross-border contacts essential to maintaining their communities and cultures.
It was founded in 2003 as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO), and is now considered the world's leading authority on food and drink tourism. Each year, the Association serves a community of nearly 200,000 people from 150 countries.
Created in the late 1980s by a group of CEOs from the industry, WTTC's main mission is to maximise the inclusive and sustainable growth potential of the Touris & Travel sector by partnering with governments, destinations and other stakeholders to drive economic development, create jobs, etc.
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