Business types in this industry

Businesses in this industry can be involved in a diverse range of activities. Some business types include:

  • tour operators ranging from individual sole traders to large businesses in multiple locations
  • travel agents
  • short-term accommodation providers in single or multi-site locations
  • recreation service providers
  • transport and hire service providers

Legislation, standards and initiatives

You must be aware of the laws that apply to the tourism industry and the services you provide.

Licences and permits

State, territory and local 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

Read tourism operator guidelines to understand the application process for permits and licenses.

Find the licences and permits you need for your business

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find information on the licences you may need.


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.

Other ATO resources

The Australian Taxation Office provides a range of business benchmarks which may be of assistance when setting up or managing your business. Visit ATO Benchmarks by Industry to find your business type and learn more.

Learn more about the GST requirements for the tourism industry.

Employ people

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

Use our checklist for small business owners to help you meet Australian laws when hiring an employee. We’ve also included some tips that might help you through the hiring process.

If you're ready to employ someone, create an employment contract tailored to the award and your business needs.

Workplace health and 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

Learn more about state-specific WHS requirements.


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


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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Further advice and assistance

Check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business.

For further advice and assistance, consider contacting your accountant, solicitor, business adviser or industry association.

Read next

Read our fair trading section for more information on refund regulations.

Check out our insurance information to find out more about insurance options for your business.