Are you thinking of setting
up as a Tour Operator?
These are eight legal essentials to operating a tour
operator business in Australia.
1. Name Protection
You need to come up with a name. The more distinctive the
name, the easier it is to protect.
In terms of legal protection, you need to look at
registering a business name (stand alone or as a company
name), a domain name and a trade mark.
The first and best protection for your name is to register a
business name or an Australian Company because it prevents
anyone from registering an identical name as a trading name
Register at least a .com.au domain name and set up a website
because this protects your name on the internet.
When you have a logo to go with the name, register the name
and the logo as a Trade Mark.
Cordato Partners can help with Business Name, Company and
Trade Mark registrations.
2. Product quality, advertising and marketing
You need to comply with the Australian Consumer Law when it
comes to product quality, advertising and marketing.
Pay particular attention to the promises and the
descriptions in your Brochures, Website and Marketing
Click here for an outline of the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission’s Guide to Travel & Accommodation
Cordato Partners can help by vetting brochures, website and
3. Supplier Contracts
Tour operators need to work with local tour operators, tour
guides, accommodation providers and transport providers. The
arrangements with travel and accommodation suppliers need to
be documented with confirmed arrangements and agreed terms.
In particular, you must have a clear idea of what deposits
are payable, what cancellation fees are retained, what price
variations are possible and what is included or excluded
from the arrangements.
In some cases, the supplier has a contract, in other cases
you provide a contract to the supplier, and in yet other
cases, it the arrangement is documented by an exchange of
Cordato Partners can help by drafting and reviewing supplier
4. Terms & Conditions and PI Insurance
Liability Protection is obtained in 2 ways – Terms and
Conditions (T & Cs) and Professional Indemnity (PI)
Insurance provide liability protection.
Well drafted T & Cs for your Booking Forms and for your
Website will protect against most traveller claims because
they will provide the tour operator with the flexibility to
alter and cancel the travel arrangements, if necessary.
Cordato Partners can help with the T & Cs.
PI Insurance is available to protect the tour operator
against liability for some incidents which might occur on
the tour. PI Insurance is not essential, and having a
separate entity and well drafted T & Cs for your Booking
Application Forms and for your Website will protect against
5. Travel Insurance
It should be an essential requirement that the traveller has
Not only must your T & Cs require that the traveller have
adequate Travel Insurance, but you must also check that the
Travel Insurance taken out covers travel to the place where
the tour is to be carried out and also covers the tour
The three most important covers for travel insurance are
cancellation, loss of baggage/personal effects, and medical,
hospital and repatriation expense cover.
Although the travel insurance covers only the traveller, if
it is in place it will protect the tour operator from being
a target for ‘breach of duty of care’ claims if an insured
6. Passports & Visas
The tour operator needs to check that the traveller’s
passport will have 6 months validity from the date when the
traveller is due to return to Australia.
The tour operator also needs to check whether travel on that
passport is covered by a visa waiver or whether a visa is
7. Professional Association
Investigate joining a professional association so as to keep
up to date with trends.
Membership of a professional association also enhances the
professionalism of the business.
8. No Travel Agents Licence
Travel Agents licensing, which included Tour Operators
licensing, was abolished in Australia on 30 June 2014. Also,
the Government compensation scheme known as the Travel
Compensation Fund was closed to new claims as of 30 June
As a result, there are no longer any licensing or compulsory
insurance requirements to be a tour operator in Australia.
Click here for more information on the abolition.
Watch this video for a discussion on legal essentials for