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What are Tertiary Activities?

Tertiary sector is also known as the service sector. It provides services to the other sectors of the economy. It includes banking, transport, communication, other life services, etc.

The economy is divided into many categories as per the work. The tertiary sector is one of them. It is also referred to as the service sector as it provides services to the other sectors of the economy. It includes banking, transport, communication, trade, and other life-related services. Economic activities apart from agriculture and the secondary sector fall under tertiary activities. This involves access to services in exchange for money. An essential element of the tertiary sector is the workforce, as the activities are performed by skilled people with expertise in their respective fields. Read below to know the types of tertiary activities.

What are the Types of Tertiary activities?

There are four types of tertiary activities: Trade, transport, communication, and services.

  • Trade 

In simple terms, trading can be defined as buying and selling items produced somewhere else in exchange for money. It is intended for profit. Usually, trading centres are divided into two: rural and urban marketing centres.

Rural marketing centres provide goods usually to nearby settlements. These are generally underdeveloped and work in a minimal area; some are held on a specific date and place. (Periodic markets).

Whereas urban marketing centres are developed and offer various products from every institution. Urban marketing centres include both ordinary and specialised goods & services. It provides services from institutions by professionals such as teachers, lawyers, physicians, doctors, etc.

Trading can be of two kinds: retail and Wholesale. In retail, goods are sold directly to the customers. It is done through some fixed places such as stores or markets etc. -This can also include selling from the phone, internet, or other mediums. Whereas, wholesale goods are traded from manufacturers to merchants in bulk.

  • Transport

Transport is a tertiary service or facility through which people or materials such as manufactured goods are taken from one place to another. Though, the time and cost can be different as per the selected mode of transport. When choosing any mode, distance and time are seen foremost.

Factors which affect Transport

Major factors which affect transport services are :

Demand: Transport services depend upon the population and the quality of life. The demand for transport increases automatically with the increase in population.

Route: It essentially means the way through which anything is to be transported. The network depends upon the city, town, village, or the end to end place.

Network: Made by nodes and links, it is a well-developed transport system. It is a meeting place where two or more routes connect. Any road which joins any node is called a link.

Communication: In earlier times, message or communication was done through hand, animals, or by transporting the written message physically from one place to another. But with the advancement in technology, communication services have evolved rapidly, and people can now send messages easily through mobiles and satellites. 

Telecommunication: With technological advancement, transferring messages has evolved very quickly. Now it has become direct and fast. People can communicate with each other anytime by using mobile phones. This all is facilitated through satellites.

Mass Media: A message or information can now be sent anywhere to a mass instantly. It can be done by using the internet or television. This has led to advertising becoming a great medium as well.

Services: The most crucial aspect of tertiary activities is services. However, these services are provided and can be accessed at different levels. Some of them are meant to be used only by people, some by industries, and some by both. This is why services are divided further into three categories :

  1. Low order services: These include standard services and facilities like grocery shops, departmental stores, etc.
  2. Domestic services: This list includes servants such as housekeepers, cooks, and gardeners who migrate from one place to another looking for employment.
  3. High order services: This includes a specialised service done only by an expert in the field. This includes accountants, physicians, and consultants. Many of these are regulated by the government, like education, healthcare, public amenities, etc. High order services are usually organised and owned by the government or big corporations, whereas the other two are unorganised.

People Engaged in Tertiary Activities

With the advancement in technology, the number of jobs in the tertiary sector has evolved very rapidly. In the last few decades, the number of people has gradually shifted from the secondary sector to the tertiary sector. People were primarily involved in agriculture and manufacturing industries; however, that paradigm has changed rapidly. Research shows that more people are now employed in tertiary activities in developed countries while underdeveloped nations are still hooked on agriculture or manufacturing industries.

Tourism Industry 

Tourism is one of the fastest developing industries in the world. It involves tourism being used as a business. This industry generates employment for many people through various aspects such as accommodation, meals, transport, entertainment, tourist places, and promotion of local crafts.

Tourism differs from one place to another, and it can be seasonal or function throughout the year. Some places can be visited throughout all the seasons, while some are specific to one or another.

Historic towns, heritage sites, or beautiful landscapes can be visited anytime. The rise in the tourism industry can be linked with the increasing quality of life and financial betterment of general people. Development in transport is another reason why the tourism industry has significantly boosted.

Another vital factor in tertiary activities is medical tourism. Many people visit another state or country to avail of a medical facility.


The tertiary sector is also known as the service sector as it provides services, mainly to the other sectors of the economy. Tertiary activities are divided into four types: trade, communication, transport, and services; with social advancements such as the rise in literacy and technological progress, more and more people are now shifting towards the tertiary sector in search of employment.