Gain an understanding of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the tourism industry.

The tourism industry includes:

  • tour operators
  • travel agents
  • short-term accommodation providers
  • recreation service providers
  • transport and hire service providers

You should also check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business adviser. We suggest you review our other factsheets as your tourism business may incorporate other industries.

Legislation, standards and initiatives


You must be aware of the laws that apply to the tourism industry.

Key legislation

Mandatory industry codes & standards

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) guides

Licences and permits


State or territory governments manage the licences and permits for the tourism industry.

The licences and permits you may need include:

  • registration for travel agents
  • registration for tour operators
  • registration for accommodation providers
  • registration of a caravan park
  • fishing and boating licencing (see our Fisheries industry fact sheet)
  • permit for the use of national parks, forests or marine parks
  • permit to operate at an airport
  • permit to conduct whale or dolphin watching activities
  • permit for Aboriginal land visits
  • eco-tourism licensing
  • permit to use public land
  • erecting/displaying signage
  • playing video/sound recordings
  • preparing and/or selling food
  • selling and/or consumption of alcohol
  • outdoor dining
  • selling tobacco products
  • gaming/lottery activities
  • disposal of waste
  • importing goods
  • restricted trading days
  • handling, storage and use of chemicals or dangerous substances

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)

Find the licences and permits you need for your tourism business.

Taxation


The tourism industry have specific Goods and Services Tax (GST) measures. Know your GST obligations and register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you can claim your GST credits.

Employ people


If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws specific to the tourism industry.

Workplace Health & Safety (WHS)


All business must comply with general occupational health and safety regulations. The tourism industry also has state specific WHS requirements. These include:

  • licensing for high risk work
  • standards for safe diving practices
  • national marine safety laws
  • standards for protective clothing and equipment
  • prevention of burns from hot liquids, surfaces or steam
  • prevention of falls
  • prevention and response to workplace bullying
  • prevention of workplace violence (e.g. robbery)
  • prevention of injury from animal handling
  • standards for occupational safety signage
  • national standard for manual handling
  • occupational noise management
  • electrical safety

Environment


Tourism businesses often rely heavily on the environment to explore and showcase the natural wonders of Australia. This means that these businesses can have a potentially large impact on the environment including the local flora and fauna. The main environmental issues that businesses in the tourism industry should understand include:

  • protection of national parks, forests or marine parks
  • protection of whales, dolphins and other marine life
  • protection of waterways including rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands
  • protection of threatened species
  • protection of Aboriginal heritage sites and land
  • protection of world heritage and other heritage listed sights
  • waste management and reduction
  • sustainability

Insurance


Alongside compulsory insurances, the tourism industry has specific insurances. These insurances include:

  • public liability
  • property and buildings
  • caravans
  • vessels
  • buses
  • vehicles
  • business interruption

Government organisations


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