Description - The Business Model

The Business Model
See an interactive presentation -

See: HOW IT WORKS (an animated video.) Review the RTA Post Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.


The RTA is a social enterprise driven business model - a hybrid between a development agency and a tour operator - connecting those in the responsible tourism industry. Its online search an non-commission-based booking platform is designed to ensure a greater range of products and services, and more equitable deals between its membership of RTA Ambassadors and Business Partners (and others in the RTA Community.)  

Members in each category have their online profile and presentations (interactive websites) on the RTA database displayed in a format that facilitates a high level of personalised service for the RTA Ambassadors, and showcases the service standard and best practice compliance levels of the RTA Business Partners. 

All groups pay a small monthly fee to the RTA for hosting their online presentations and to cover marketing costs.

They also make a monthly contribution to VWB the non-profit partner, who is tasked with providing development assistance (training courses / workshops / support) for the business partners in the RTA Community. 

The Platform Owner

RTA Local Agent Network Operator - Track of the Tiger T.R.D. (Tourism Resources Development) est. 1986 owns the IP rights to the business model, the platform, and the rights to the RTA Local Agent Network.

The Tourist Route System 

Is the cornerstone of the RTA Business model. RTA Local Agents are tasked to design and manage tourist routes as excursions from and travel between their own and other destinations.

Why - These routes spread the footprint of tourism beyond the narrow confines of the city and immediate areas into the provincial areas. In so doing, they reduce the dangers of over-tourism, ensuring broader market appeal and sustainability, and delivering the long-term benefits that the model allows.

What - They offer RTA Travel Ambassadors access to a wide range of unique and rewarding travel experiences, provided by the custodians of the local culture, heritage, and lifestyle, at fair prices, with an emphasis on good service and compliance with responsible tourism best practices.

Market Access – They improve market access for businesses that were otherwise considered remote and were not deemed to justify several hours of travel to and from the city. This changes once they become a stop on an attraction or activity-rich tourist route.

Repositioning - They provide an opportunity for tourist destinations to reduce their dangerous dependence on mainstream or mass tourism, by taking back control, and ensuring balance and longevity by diversifying their target markets.

The RTA Business Partners 

Are the micro, small and medium sized tourism businesses keen to attract trade from the rapidly growing responsible tourism market. They want to earn an equitable share of the opportunities and revenue that tourism provides, and to showcase their cultures, customs, and way of life to an interested audience. They benefit from:

Low Cost Advertising - In the form of multi-page, interactive online presentation.

Non-Commission Based Bookings - The opportunity for micro and small tourism businesses that operate part-time, accommodate low volume and/or do not charge high rates, to access more business at better rates.

No Credit Required - The RTA Local Agent makes 'full payment' for all bookings in advance of 'use of service' and complies with booking deposit requests where agreed.

Business Skills Training – Our non-profit partner, the Volunteers Without Borders Foundation is tasked to provide the RTA Businesses with basic training in basic hospitality service, and compliance with responsible tourism best practices. Good feedback through positive (verified) guest comments is the key to attracting business from this demographic.

Booking Incentives - The key to attracting a good volume of business at fair rates is to establish a fair ‘advertised rate structure’ and then incentivise bookings through the use of discounts, upgrades or complimentary services on a case by case basis –  at the Business Partner's discretion.

2nd Revenue Streams – All RTA Business Partners are encouraged to develop non-tourism reliant 2nd revenue streams based on market demand and their skillsets and interests. It is basic risk management in an industry that is very dependent on a stable economy and political leadership.

A Catalyst - The RTA Business Partners are invariably entrepreneurs, and are a catalyst, setting an example and providing an opportunity for suppliers and service providers, and other tourist businesses that form their local visitor-based economies.

RTA Ambassadors 

Are those visitors seeking unique and rewarding travel experiences not generally available to them through the traditional mainstream tourism commission-driven supply chain. The RTA system affords them fair pricing, booking, and ground support. They benefit from the following:

A Wider Product Range & A Better Deal - By providing an alternative to the commission -based booking system the RTA attracts membership from the 70-90% of micro and small businesses operators not supported by the existing booking channels. These businesses are then free to incentivise their offers to you by offering (discounts, upgrades, complimentary services) - on a case by case basis - to attract your custom.

Customised Itineraries - RTA Ambassadors use the CGI forms in the 'booking & communications log' embedded in their online profiles. It allows them to customise and submit their draft itineraries to the RTA Local Agent, who works with them and the specified RTA Business Partners to secure the best deals.

Personalised Service - The service is further personalised by having the RTA Local Agent access the Ambassador’s Personalised Service Database (hosted on their RTA profiles.) This allows the Business Partners & Local Agents respectively to accommodate their service preferences and to match their hobbies and interests with those run by local clubs, groups, associations in the destination during their stay.

Community Service Options - The RTA Ambassadors are invited to support (gifts – books, educational materials, etc.,) donations, hands-on help on a range of community service-based projects undertaken by our non-profit partner VWB and located along your chosen tourist route. Options will be made available on request by the Local Agent when planning your itinerary.

Supply Chain Support – The RTA advocates that the Business Partners – and those in their local visitor based economies – establish viable non-tourism reliant 2nd revenue streams to support their tourism incomes – as a risk management strategy to replace it in times of crisis. The RTA Ambassadors provide a supply chain role - using their transport to bring in needed raw materials and take the finished product out.

The Honey Example – An RTA Business Partner may provide nature trail tours, bird watching animal photography in their community forest. Their 2nd revenue stream may be in beekeeping for honey production. You may play a role in bringing in the empty jars and carrying out the finished product. You may also play a role in harvesting the honey. Either way, your role elevates your status from tourist to valued visitor.


RTA Local Agents

Are appointed on a concession basis to run RTA & VWB operations in designated destinations. They are tasked with developing the tourist routes, and recruiting RTA Business Partners, Local Experts and Development Partners and Affiliates.

In addition. they take on the role of representing the Volunteers Without Borders Foundation in the destination, providing development and training support, and where applicable, managing the 2nd revenue stream supply chain.

Their revenue is derived from fees paid by the RTA Ambassadors for:

  • Managing bookings between RTA Ambassadors and RTA Business Partners.
  • Helping to customise itineraries, negotiate good deals, and ensuring the highest possible level of personalised service.and to provide quality guides and transport.
  • From opportunities in the development of non-tourism reliant 2nd revenue stream projects anf their suuply chain management.
They do not take commissions from the RTA Business Partners, understanding that the rates charged reflect the real costs of the products and services provided plus a modest profit that allows them to survive and prosper. 
RTA Local Experts

Are invariably local destination-based experts in a field of special interest to the RTA Ambassadors. This might cover any subject: Archaeology to Zen Buddhism, Architecture to Zoology. They provide services at agreed rates: (a) An email exchange on their subject. (b) a 1-2hr meeting, or presentation on arrival. (c) An expert guide service for a half day or more.

The RTA Development Partners 

Our core development partner is Volunteers Without Borders Foundation (Reg. No. Chor Mor 353, Est. 2011)  who in addition to their traditional work, are taking the main development and training role in the business partner network. 

VWB Volunteers – Are generally university students or postgraduates working in 4-person task forces with the VWB to develop online profiles for newly recruited RTA Business Partners. They also assist – designated experts - in the business skills and 2nd revenue skills training for the RTA membership. The minimum assignment period is 3 months and the role is open to Thai and foreign nationals.

Tourism Organisations – Are encouraged to collaborate with the RTA by promoting its use as an alternative to run alongside the traditional mainstream model, helping to diversify the target markets, improve opportunity and revenue share, manage risk and secure a sustainable future.   

Local Government & NGOs - Are invited to collaborate with us on this project for the benefit of our mutual objectives. The shared use of networks and training resources will lead to cost savings and progress towards mission objectives for all involved.

Universities – Are encouraged to talk to us about internship,research and work placement opportunities for those studying sustainable tourism, socio-economic development, IT, and creative writing. Our database design lends itself to detailed research (less any personal identifiers) on both the model and our membership.

Clubs, Groups & Associations - Representing those in specific areas of, or impacted by tourism.


RTA Affiliates 

The RTA does not seek to replace the traditional commission-based business model. It seeks to provide an alternative to it for a market segment that demands a more equitable approach to tourism and seeks more unique and rewarding travel experiences.

There is no reason why selected tour operators could not run both models alongside each other – using RTA products and services - to their obvious benefit.