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Home > Businesses > Specific businesses and industries > Inbound tour operators > Legal requirements

Legal requirements

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The Tourism Services Act 2003 (the Act) protects Queensland's tourism industry by ensuring all inbound tour operators and tour guides operate in an ethical and professional way, and in the best interests of clients.

It works to eliminate unfair practices such as:


Inbound tour operator - a person who, alone or with others, sells travel packages for people visiting or travelling in Queensland to overseas wholesalers, retailers or corporate buyers for an inclusive price.

Tour guide - a person who, for reward, personally supplies guiding services to tourists travelling with tours in Queensland. The reward may include payment, accommodation, flights or food. You can still be a tour guide if you are not paid in any way but do the work to gain work experience as a tour guide. Guiding services include accompanying tourists, doing something else for them (such as translating), giving tourists information or advice, or coordinating or leading their activities.

Travel packages - pre-arranged combinations of at least two of the following:

Key features

If you are an inbound tour operator in Queensland who sells travel packages overseas, you must register your business. You do not need to register if you also sell within Australia and the packages you sold overseas within the previous 12 months did not exceed 20 per cent of the total travel packages you sold.

You must also adhere to an enforceable Code of Conduct.
The Act prohibits inbound tour operators and tour guides engaging in unconscionable conduct, such as charging for access to free attractions and forcing tourists to shop only at stores that pay the operators and guides excessive commissions.

The Act does not apply if you provide services to tourists on a not-for-profit basis or apply any net proceeds for a community purpose, such as a charity.

The regulation

The Tourism Services Regulation 2003 requires you to keep records and other documents, including accounting records for seven years.

You must keep all itineraries, quotes and travel package promotion documents for two years.

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Last reviewed 01/07/2011

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