Business types in this industry

Businesses in the tourism industry include:

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

Industry statistics

Industry research is an important part of planning for your business, it may help you identify:

  • economic and industry trends
  • establish or improve your business
  • help you keep pace with your industry.

See statistics for Tourism and transport on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

Check out tourism statistics and market regions on the Tourism Australia website. You can also explore tourism data and research on the Tourism Research Australia website.

Legislation, standards and initiatives

It’s important that you’re 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 approvals 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.

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.

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Tourism businesses have specific goods and services tax (GST) measures. It’s important that you know your GST obligations and to make sure you register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you can claim your GST credits. 


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.

A challenge for tourism businesses is reducing energy use while keeping customers comfortable in climate-controlled facilities. 

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has tips for reducing your energy costs in their services industry sector guide


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

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

Find support

If you need advice or support, consider getting help from your industry association, a business adviser, accountant or legal professional.

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