Tourist Organization

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tourist Organization


(1) A commercial or noncommercial establishment, such as a company, bureau, or agency, that organizes and conducts tourist trips.

(2) An association, union, or other organized group that promotes both domestic and international tourism.

(3) A governmental institution that determines state policy on tourism.

(4) A multinational association for the purpose of facilitating tourist traffic.

Among the different types of organizations that provide tourist services are those known as tour operators, which offer comprehensive services either through their own tourist facilities (for example, hotels, restaurants, and means of transportation) or through rented facilities. Another category is that of tourist agencies, which act as intermediaries in offering the services (such as transportation) of other tourist and nontourist organizations—that is, offering a “package” of separate services. The third main category of organizations is that of clubs and other associations whose members are consumers of tourist services; this group consists primarily of noncommercial public organizations that are supported by members’ dues, allocations from public funds, private donations, and sometimes earnings from their own commercial ventures.

The first commercial tour was organized by the Englishman T. Cook in 1841. Among the early tourist bureaus were those established in France, Germany, and Italy in the mid-19th century, and in Russia in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The first international tourist organization, founded in Luxembourg in 1898, was called the International League of Tourists Associations; it was renamed the International Touring Alliance in 1919.

The USSR has a network of state and public tourist organizations (numbering more than 65,000 in 1975) that are operated under the guidance of the following specialized tourist institutions: the Central Council on Tourism and Excursions (CCTE) of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, the all-Union joint-stock company Inturist, the Sputnik Bureau of International Youth Tourism, and the Central Children’s Excursion Tour Station (CCETS).

Through the CCTE—a Soviet trade union institution dating back to 1936—tourist trips and excursions in the USSR are made available to the entire population. The CCTE provides direction for independent tourist activities and for exchanges with foreign trade union tourist organizations, and it supervises the councils on tourism and excursions of the various republics, krais, and oblasts. The councils, which operate on the principle of profit-and-loss accounting, have at their disposal a network of travel and excursion bureaus as well as their own material and technological base, which includes hotels, tourist stations, camping sites, public catering facilities, means of transportation, and facilities for equipment rental and distribution. The councils centralize the activities of the tourist clubs of the USSR; through public commissions, and in conjunction with voluntary trade union sports societies, they supervise various tourist athletic activities. State and public organizations with an interest in tourism are represented on the councils. The CCTE is a member of two international trade union tourist organizations.

Inturist (founded 1929) makes arrangements for foreign tourists and organizes tourist trips abroad for citizens of the USSR. The organization has offices in all the Union republics and in many krai and oblast administrative centers, and it has its own material and technological base. Inturist operations are governed by the state policies of the Central Board of Foreign Tourism under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Inturist is accountable to its stockholders’ general meeting. It has offices in most European countries, in the USA, and elsewhere, and it is a member of 12 international tourist organizations.

Sputnik (founded 1958) handles tourist exchanges with foreign youth tourist organizations and arranges tours for Soviet youth within the USSR. It has a network of bureaus in the Union republics, krais, and oblasts, as well as international youth camps in areas of the USSR that are best suited for tourism. Sputnik cooperates and maintains contacts with more than 400 youth tourist organizations abroad and is a member of two international youth tourist organizations.

Children’s tours are under the jurisdiction of the CCETS of the Ministry of Education of the USSR, which has a network of children’s excursion and tour stations and tourist centers in all the Union republics.

Soviet tourist organizations participate in the conferences of the tourist organizations of the socialist countries—convened regularly since 1957—as well as in the standing commissions operating within the conference framework.

In 1975 the world’s national tourist organizations numbered in the tens of thousands; to this can be added approximately 100 associations, either directly or indirectly related to tourism, operating on the world, regional, or subregional level. International tourist organizations work toward the regulation of legal procedures and currency exchanges and the development of uniform documentation, terminology, and statistical records; they make recommendations aimed at resolving the organizational, technical,

Table 1. International tourist organizations
AssociationYear founded and headquartersRecognized organizationsYear joined by Soviet organizations
1As observers 2Regional 3Specialized body of the UN, founded on the recommendation of the 24th session of the UN General Assembly (1969) as the successor to the International Union of Official Travel Organizations (founded 1925) for the purpose of expanding tourism, strengthening international economic development, and promoting mutual understanding and peace among peoples.
American Society of Travel Agents1931
New York
Tourist agencies, carriers, and other travel companies in more than 100 countries19601
Arab Association of Tourism and Travel Agents21954
Tourist agencies from 14 Arab countries1967
International Academy of Tourism1951
Monte Carlo
60 active and corresponding members
International Bureau for Tourism and Youth Exchanges of the World Federation of Democratic Youth1961
40 national organizations1960
International Bureau of Social Tourism1963
64 national and nine international tourist organizations1968
International Congress and Convention Association1962
Tourist agencies from various countries1968
International Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers1954
28 national organizations1967
International Orienteering Federation196118 national organizations19671
International Sightseeing and Tours Association1954
140 tourist organizations from various countries1965
International Student Travel Conference1968
41 national organizations1968
International Touring Alliance1919138 associations, including 65 in Europe, 26 in Asia, 23 in Africa, 21 in America, and three in Oceania1969
International Trade Union Committee on Social Tourism and Recreation of the World Federation of Trade Unions1964
Trade union tourist organizations in 14 countries1966
Latin American Confederation of Tourist Organizations1957
Buenos Aires
Tourist agencies from 18 Latin American countries1965
Pacific Area Travel Association1951
San Francisco
More than 1,000 tourist organizations in 29 countries and territories19661
Universal Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations1966
National associations of tourist agencies from 71 countries
World Association of Travel Agencies1949
286 tourist companies in 93 countries1967
World Tourism Organization31975
102 sovereign states and 39 affiliate members1975

and scientific problems of tourism; they hold regular congresses and meetings of representatives of governmental, state, and other bodies involved in the development of tourism; and they publish specialized journals, bulletins, and reference works. (A list of international tourist organizations is given in Table 1.)

In addition to the worldwide, regional, and subregional tourist organizations uniting the tourist organizations of individual countries, there are many different kinds of associations—for example, associations of tourist companies, hotels, transportation agencies, and insurance firms—that are directly or indirectly related to tourism and that pursue predominantly commercial goals.


Sokolov, Iu. N. Mezhdunarodnyi turizm i ego pravovoe regulirovanie. Moscow, 1969.
Mezhdunarodnye sportivnye ob”edineniia i turistskie organizatsii. Moscow [1973].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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