For travel agencies and tour operators, it’s crucial to address all necessary legal requirements when establishing or running your business. Our legal team specialises in supporting small businesses in this industry with their legal needs, including contracts, intellectual property protection, and privacy compliance. Get in touch with us today to learn more!
To establish a travel agency or tour operator business in Australia, you will need to prepare and register a variety of legal documents. Key requirements include:
- Registering your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
- Obtaining Workers' compensation insurance and business insurance (e.g. public liability, professional indemnity).
- Securing Council approval (if operating from a commercial premise) and a lease agreement (if renting premises).
- Having Health and safety policies and procedures in place.
- Complying with privacy and data protection policies and procedures.
- Obtaining an Australian Business Number (ABN) and registering for Goods and Services Tax (GST).
- Applying for a travel agent's license with the Australian government's Department of Home Affairs.
If you're running a travel agency, it's highly advised that you have a Travel Agency Agreement so that all parties are clear on their rights and responsibilities. This will also help clarify key matters like how payment will work, limitation of liability and details of the service being provided.
Furthermore, travel agencies often involve a third party (for example, airlines and accommodation providers). As such, it becomes even more important to set out the details of liability and responsibilities in a legally binding agreement.
Running a travel agency or tour operator business carries many risks, especially if you're working with third parties. As such, it's important to consider the ways you can limit your liability for anything that goes wrong.
It's common business practice to insert standard 'limitation of liability' clauses into your contracts with the parties you're working with. This will clearly set out matters that you are not to be held responsible for, or in some cases, it can limit the amount that you are required to pay in the case of any liability (for instance, capping it at a certain amount).
In addition, some businesses can have a liability waiver in their terms and conditions to their customers when they first engage with you. This informs customers that you (the business) will not be liable for certain matters.