The network structure of Tourism Supply Chain (TSC)

 A typical TSC within a destination

The downstream end includes tourists from the target market. Travel agents are the retail branches of tourism products dealing with tourists and tour operators. Travel agents and tour operators can be the same or separate business entities. Tour operators have enormous influence over all the activities involved in the TSC. They buy individual travel services (such as transport and accommodation) from their suppliers (such as carriers and hotels) and assemble them into holiday packages, which are sold to the public directly or through travel agents. Tour operators can oversee the entire holiday experience so that they normally have firsthand knowledge of the behavior of tourists during their holiday in the destinations.

The first tier of the upstream end of a TSC involves direct suppliers that directly supply tourism services to intermediaries. Typical direct suppliers include theme parks, shopping centers, hotels, bars and restaurants, handicraft shops, and transportation operators. A more complex TSC may also include second-tier suppliers that supply services or products to first-tier suppliers. As noted, non-business entities are also involved in the TSC, one of which is the natural environment or scenery. Another typical player in the TSC is the local government or business association that facilitates public and private sector collaboration through policy intervention.


Zhang, X., Song, H., & Huang, G. Q. (2009). Tourism supply chain management: A new research agenda. Tourism Management, 30(3), 345–358. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2008.12.010

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