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Inbound tour operators breaches and penalties

Unregistered work

Unregistered inbound tour operators are breaking the law. The following penalties apply.

Type of offence Maximum penalty
Operating unregistered $25,230
Not returning your certificate when your registration is cancelled $12,615
Not returning your certificate when your registration is suspended  $12,615
Not returning your certificate when you have a change of conditions $12,615
Not reporting any changes to your registered details


Not returning your certificate when you surrender your registration $2,523

Trade conduct

By registering, you agree to trade in a particular way. The following offences will apply, and you may also be liable for civil damages for unconscionable conduct.

Type of offence Maximum penalty
Not keeping your accounting records for at least 7 years  $2,523
Not keeping all your required records   $2,523
Not having a dispute resolution process  $2,523
Having a dispute resolution process that doesn’t comply with the regulatory standards   $2,523
Not giving a tourist an outline or written copy of your policies if they ask for one  $2,523
Not including all mandatory costs in your quote (including tax)  $2,523
Not outlining all your terms and conditions in an advertisement for a travel package  $2,523
Charging tourists a fee to access free goods or services  $2,523
Tour guides not wearing ID  $2,523


As an inbound tour operator, you may face an inspection. Our inspectors will:

  • act on complaints we receive, including from other retailers
  • conduct random spot checks of inbound tour operators and tour guides.

You must follow an inspector’s lawful directions, or you risk a fine. Our inspectors must show you their signed photo ID.

These officers may:

  • enter any public place that is open
  • enter an area with the owner's permission
  • enter any area if they have a warrant from the Magistrates Court
  • search the premises
  • take photos or video of the premises
  • seize possessions
  • take copies of documents
  • take other people or equipment into the area.
Type of offence Maximum penalty
Failing to provide required information  $25,230
Making a false or misleading statement to an inspector $25,230
Giving an inspector false or misleading documents (unless you advise them of this) $25,230
Obstructing an inspector from exercising powers $25,230
Impersonating an inspector 


Failing to assist inspector in the exercise of their powers $2,523
Failing to give your name and address to an inspector if they ask for it  $2,523

Code of Conduct

The code of conduct (PDF, 306KB) is mandatory for all inbound tour operators. It sets out how to operate in an honest, fair and professional way.

You must know and follow the code of conduct.


Inbound tour operators must comply with several state and federal laws. You can access them via the links below.

The Tourism Services Act 2003 (PDF, 388KB)

Fair Trading Act 1989 (PDF, 741KB)

Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Australia)

Last updated
17 January 2018
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