A package tour or package holiday consists of transport and accommodation advertised and sold together by a vendor known as a tour operator. Other services may be provided like a rental car, activities or outings during the holiday. Transport can be via charter airline to a foreign country. Package holidays are a form of product bundling.
Package holidays are organised by a tour operator and sold to a consumer by a travel agent. Some travel agents are employees of tour operators, others are independent.
The first organised tours dated back to Thomas Cook who, on 5 July 1841, chartered a train to take a group of temperance campaigners from Leicester to a rally in Loughborough, twenty miles away. By 1872 he was undertaking world-wide tours, albeit with small groups. Thomas Cook - the company - grew to become one of the largest and most well known travel agents before being nationalised in 1948. With the gradual decline of visits to British seaside resorts after the Second World War, Thomas Cook began promoting foreign holidays (particularly Italy, Spain and Switzerland) in the early 1950s. Information films were shown at town halls throughout Britain. However they made a costly