What is a Ground Operator?

Ground Operators are local companies that provide the actual travel services in a destination. Typically, they own vehicles, employ guides, and negotiate special rates with hotels, combining these and other elements to create a full-service experience. This is particularly helpful for travelers heading to far-flung destinations, where it can be difficult to book each of these elements separately and reliably. Ground Operators are sometimes referred to as Tour Operators or Destination Management Companies (DMC).

Tour Direct management team personally vets every Ground Operator, by traveling with them in their region of operation.

How we select Ground Operators

Our management team personally vets every potential Ground Operator, by actually traveling with them in their region of operation. We don’t just spend an hour or two interviewing an agency owner, but rather several days field-testing the Ground Operator’s staff. We find out how smoothly their trips run, how knowledgeable their guides are, and much more. Only then do we invite a Ground Operator to complete our extensive application, which our Advisory Board reviews along with the inspection trip report.

Please click here for a list of the criteria that we use to rate each applicant (most Ground Operators far exceed these benchmarks); all criteria are independently verified by TourDirect.

Inclusion in this website is not a paid listing or advertisement. No Ground Operator has paid any money to become a member of the TourDirect Alliance. The common denominator among all of our members is that they consistently operate top-quality trips.

Recommended Ground Operators

Journeys Within

Based out of Siem Reap, Cambodia, Journeys Within Tour Company is dedicated to delivering unforgettable, customized trips across Southeast Asia. As both a tour company and a ground operator, we are ….. more


Diverse China

As a leading travel specialist on private tours, Diverse China Travel also has been playing an important role on eco-travel and responsible travel within China. Experiencing the “diversity of China” is what Diverse … more


Far Horizons

Far Horizon was created to provide a unique, fresh and personal approach for travel to the Indian subcontinent. Our philosophy is to not only to view the famous monuments of this great land, but to experience what we ….. more

Peak Promotions

With over 20 years in operation, Peak Promotion has proven themselves time and again as the Ground Operator of choice in Nepal for many of the world’s most well known adventure travel clientele. Their client reads ….. more

Asian Adventures
Sri Lanka

Founded 12 years ago by two industry leaders with a cumulative experience of over 40 years in tourism, Asian Adventures is a dynamic destination management company with a wealth of experience in …. more


Phendhay Snowland

Tibet’s pre-eminent cultural and adventure travel Operator, Phendhay Snowland Tours has worked with many prestigious institutions in the United States and Europe, and specializes in private, custom  …. more

Phendhay Logo

Operator Favorites

Through the Highest Himalaya

10 Oct 2016 - 22 Oct 2016
On the Roof of the World, locked away for centuries, Tibet has always held a unique place in the human imagination .....
From $5,880

China Explorer

18 Days / 17 nights
China covers a territory of more than 3.7 million square miles; with over 1.3 billion people and 5,000 years of history, its civilization is as...
From $5669

Essential Rajasthan

13 Days
  The jewel in the British Empire was not India, it was Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the fabled land of the Maharajas of India. The state abounds...
From $2,104

Sri Lankan Nature Adventure

13 days
Renowned for its iconic World Heritage sites, as well as its miles of exquisite beaches and resorts, Sri Lanka’s amazing diverse wildlife is...
From $2,125

Essential Cambodia

12 days
  Cambodia is so much more than just temples. From the bustling capital with its tree-lined boulevards, to the amazing 4 Rivers Ecolodge...
From $2,755

Sacred Mountains & Lakes of Tibet

11 Oct 2015 - 25 Oct 2015
To the people of Asia, the Himalayan mountain peaks are seen both as the home of the gods and as gods themselves. From these massive mountains,...
From $5,880