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Profitable tourism businesses – 10 startup ideas in this sector

Over the years, travel motivations have evolved, leaving aside the typical mass tourism and opening the door to other experiences. This in turn has resulted in thousands of opportunities for new entrepreneurs in the sector and for those interested in reinventing their business. And is that this evolution has turned tourism into an engine of economic growth for countries around the world. So much so that, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in 2019 international arrivals increased in all regions, reaching a total of 1.5 billion tourist arrivals to destinations around the world. This makes it clear that we are facing an ideal scenario for the creation of profitable tourism businesses that meet the growing demand.

Therefore, today we will dedicate this article to talk about some profitable tourism business ideas with which you can undertake in the sector. So if you are interested or are part of the world of travel and leisure, take note of this information.

What is Tourism Businesses?

tourism businesses are nothing more than an undertaking, company, society, or project related to the tourism sector. That is, businesses whose activity is developed under the offer of products and/or services focused on travel, leisure, or recreation.

The tourism business model works almost like most ventures, with the difference that it is governed by the specific legislation, standards, and codes of tourism activity corresponding to each country.

This type of business requires a certain knowledge of the sector and the dynamics of the market. Therefore, it is recommended that they be carried out by professionals in the area, such as tourist administrators, tourist guides, restaurant professionals, tourism consultants, or tourism graduates.

However, to strengthen the sustainable approach to tourism, it is important to consider that these tourism businesses can also and should be carried out by communities. That is by local residents of the regions with the opportunity to undertake tourism-related businesses since it is these communities who receive the impacts of tourism activity and therefore are fundamental actors in it.

So the ideal is that they have training and education to perform in the sector. And that they can also make alliances with other tourist enterprises so that the integral development of the destinations is promoted and everyone can benefit from this activity.

Types of Tourism Businesses

Part of the process to identify business possibilities in the tourism sector is to recognize the types of ventures that can be started there. Here we present some of the most profitable.


When we speak of hospitality we refer to all accommodation and food services linked to tourism. Here, you can find different categories depending on the characteristics of the accommodation. As well as the internal regulations of each country.

Some of them are hotels, hostels, pensions, rural houses, hostels, apart-hotels, and tourist apartments. In many of these establishments, food and drinks or entertainment services are usually offered to make the travel experience more complete.


This subsector of hospitality includes many of the profitable tourism business ideas with the highest market demand. This responds to the need for food services for both international and national tourists. Restaurants, cafes, fast food, and catering services are some of these tourism businesses that can be linked to tourist activity.

These types of ventures turn out to be very diverse and become a benchmark for the lifestyle, culture, and customs of the destinations. Also, modern tourism has aroused the gastronomic curiosity of many travelers. Therefore, the interest in experiment and delight in new flavors is greater.

Adventure trip

This is one of the types of tourism that has gained the most strength in recent years, becoming one of the favorites of travelers and tourists. According to the UNWTO definition, adventure tourism takes place in destinations with specific geographic characteristics and landscapes. Also, it is associated with physical activity, cultural exchange, and interaction with nature. As adventure tourism activities, we find mountaineering, rappelling, paragliding, mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking, among others.

10 Profitable Tourism Businesses Ideas

Now that you know some of the tourism sectors in which you can undertake, it is time to give you some ideas for it. Therefore, below we share 10 examples of profitable tourism businesses.

1# Online travel agency

Travel agencies are one of the traditional tourism businesses that are most in-demand within the sector, as many consumers require their services to plan and carry out their trips. However, consumer habits are changing due to the technological revolution we are experiencing today. Therefore, more and more people buy digitally. So starting with an online travel agency where customers can consult, book, and pay for plans and tourist packages online, is very viable.

The idea is that you specialize in a specific market niche to focus your products on a specific segment of the population and provide complete and comprehensive solutions. For example, you can market adventure tourism packages that include accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. You can also offer cultural and gastronomic tours in heritage destinations in your region. Remember that a striking, functional website with good content is crucial for the success of this business.

2# Restaurant

As we mentioned well, the restaurant sector offers multiple opportunities to start profitable tourism businesses. While it is true that restaurants are very competitive businesses, there will always be room for one more. This is because hundreds of diners are willing to enjoy the entire gastronomic offer of their travel destinations.

But for this business to be successful, it is essential to choose a good location and offer a varied and quality menu. Therefore, we recommend that you rely on a market study to identify the busiest tourist areas and the preferences of travelers when it comes to eating.

Also, it is important that you have a value proposition that distinguishes you from the competition and that attracts the attention of tourists. A good way to do it is by setting up a thematic restaurant or a typical food of the region.

3# Hostel or inn

Hostels and inns are accommodations whose services are provided in both private and shared rooms. Here, the occupancy can be up to 20 people and other common-use spaces are also shared, such as the dining room, kitchen, and bathrooms. Unlike hotels, in this type of accommodation, there is a more communal atmosphere and interaction between guests. As a result, they are ideal spaces to share with other travelers, meet people, and create new friends.

Hostels and inns are the preferred accommodation for backpackers, hikers, and foreign tourists, and their demand is increasingly high, as the trend to stay in spaces other than hotels is growing. According to data from the Booking platform, of the 28 million accommodation units that it has registered around the world, 5.8 million are NOT traditional.

So, starting a hostel or a tourist inn that meets all the requirements and services can be very lucrative.

4# Camping area

If we talk about non-traditional accommodation other than hotels, we cannot leave aside the campsites, whose popularity has exploded in recent years thanks to travelers who prefer to spend the night in outdoor spaces, away from the noise of big cities and in natural environments. Camping is often thought of as a tedious, unsatisfactory activity in low-level accommodations. But in reality, it is now possible to find very cozy camping sites, with all the basic and even very exclusive services.

This type of accommodation occurs more in rural spaces, in which the land is often intervened to adapt an area conducive to tents. And in which, also, bathroom services, kiosks, common areas, and kitchens are established. This turns out to be sufficient for travelers looking for a different travel experience. So if you are thinking of venturing into profitable tourism businesses related to accommodation, camping is an option with a high probability of success.

5# Glamping

Also known as glamorous camping, this is a type of accommodation that combines the experience of camping outdoors with all the comforts of a hotel. Glamping is an example of a revolutionary tourism business idea that allows travelers to enjoy nature, but with all the comfort of a 5-star accommodation. This further shows people’s interest in atypical lodging services, as well as the boom in experience tourism.

The glamping is divided into different types, so it is common to find from yurts, igloos, and tepees to treehouses and safari tents. Due to its characteristics, mounting glamping can require a considerable investment, but so will your return. Well, it is an exclusive service, whose segment of the population is usually travelers and tourists willing to pay a good price for all the luxuries.

6# Extreme sports company

It is more than clear that adventure tourism is booming and that many travelers and tourists are wanting to live extreme experiences. Whether you are in a city or a town, you can take advantage of this and start an extreme sports company. And thus belong to one of the most demanded profitable tourism businesses of the moment.

You must bear in mind that to start this venture you have to know the regulations and laws for this type of activity. Also, you must have the necessary equipment to carry it out, the trained personnel, and the corresponding certificates.

Among the activities that you can offer in your packages are bungee jumping, horseback riding, rock climbing, zip-lining, torrentism, rafting, caving, and mountain biking. Make sure you offer a varied offer and complement it with other services such as food and transportation.

7# Cultural tours

When travelers and tourists arrive at a specific destination they want to know about its culture, gastronomy, and history. As a result, it is common for them to hire tours or guided tours for this, either with a tourism agency or with an independent guide. Here the variety of routes is very varied, you can offer from night tours through the cities and gastronomic and historical routes to bike-rides and tours of museums, mosques, and churches.

Cultural tours are one of those profitable businesses in tourist areas that always have the opportunity and space for one more entrepreneur. So if you decide on this venture, remember to make alliances with travel agencies, transport services, local guides, restaurants, and accommodation. This way you can give your target audience a more complete experience.

8# Tour guide

Another of the most demanded services in the sector is professional guidance, whether for cultural, historical, or environmental purposes. The knowledge of an experienced and certified guide is crucial to provide a good experience for tourists. This is one of the examples of tourism ventures where the basis of success is having sufficient experience, skills, and knowledge to carry out the work.

If you are a certified tour guide, you can start offering your tours in the region where you live. You can also partner with a travel agency or other tourism service provider to complement their offer. Also, being a tour guide you can work in museums, archaeological sites, areas declared heritage of the nation, nature reserves, etc.

9# Development of tourism apps

App development is one of those online businesses adaptable to all sectors of the economy, and tourism is no exception. More and more people are using applications to plan their trips, book their flights, and hire services. We see the example of applications such as Booking, TripAdvisor, and Kayak, which have become indispensable in the lives of tourists and travelers.

The idea is to create an application that allows easy access to information about the services and activities that can be found in a given destination.

So you could, for example, develop an app to find low-cost tourist transport services or to find the main restaurants serving typical food. The options are endless and you have the advantage that, if you do not know about development and programming, you can partner with a professional on the subject.

10# Hiking: walks in nature

Another profitable tourist business related to nature and the environment. Hiking is part of adventure tourism activities. This takes place in spaces such as mountains, cliffs, and rocks. So it can be challenging and physically demanding depending on the location. Walking has become recreational and liberating, which is why hiking is one of the preferred plans for travelers and tourists when visiting natural destinations.

This activity can be suitable for all genders, tastes, needs, and ages. So you can plan walks of different levels of demand so that children, youth, adults, and seniors can participate.


Despite the impasses that the world economy has gone through over the years, tourism is one of the sectors that remains strong and ready to continue growing. Such has been its evolution, that it is currently one of the items that generate the most employment, and that contributes to the GDP of many Latin American countries. This, in turn, results in a very wide field of action with great possibilities for starting new businesses.

We hope that the information shared here will motivate you to start your own tourism business.

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Ahmed Ismail

I'm a Civil Engineer. I like reading everything related to Business so I decided to launch the "Fast Grow Company" website to help Entrepreneurs in their business journey. Keep updated and follow us.

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