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Work in the inbound tour industry

Inbound tour operators must comply with several state and federal laws. These laws make sure that operators and tour guides:

  • operate in an ethical and professional manner
  • act in the best interests of clients.

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.

It applies to you if you sell travel packages with at least 2 of the following services:

  • Accommodation (with or without food)
  • Guiding services
  • Food (other than that included in their accommodation)
  • Tourism activities
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Transport (including arrival and departure from Queensland)
  • Shopping visits or introductions to retailers
  • Entry to tourist attractions
  • Any other related activities, good or services

Working with tourists

According to the code, you must:

  • have a clear, written policy for resolving disputes
  • exercise skill, care and diligence
  • not use high-pressure tactics or harassment.

Unconscionable conduct

You must not engage in unconscionable conduct when providing services to tourists.

Unconscionable conduct may include:

  • abusing your bargaining strength
  • threatening to stop tourists from going into a trader’s premises unless they pay you a commission
  • not telling tourists about your decisions that affect them, such as changing their itinerary to spend more time in shops
  • not telling the tourist that you have a relationship with another trader or business, such as if you
    • own any part of it
    • get payment to take tourists to that particular trader.

You cannot treat a tourist unfairly by:

  • telling them they can only use your services while similar services are available elsewhere
  • letting traders take advantage of a tourist’s culture, language or religious status
  • using unreasonable tactics to sell goods and services
  • treating them inconsistently with other tourists around them (such as using a different theme park entrance where they cannot see the admission prices).

Controlled shopping

You must not overly control when and how tourists can go shopping. This means you may not:

  • restrict tourists’ choices of shopping venues
  • only lead them to certain places to shop without any opportunity to compare prices
  • prevent free choice about where to eat, shop, stay or visit (when they should reasonably have that choice)
  • take control of their passports and wallets
  • guard the door of hotels or shops and force tourists to buy something before they can leave
  • defame any retailers who don’t pay you to bring tourists into their shop.

False and misleading claims

You cannot make false or misleading claims about your services. This includes any statements about:

  • transport (for transfers and sightseeing)
  • any tours that you offer in the travel package
  • access to a place or attraction, including route and travel time
  • the entry price for attractions, tours or entertainment
  • the standard of accommodation, such as style and price
  • the price and standard of food or beverages
  • any retailer’s products or services, such as overstating its value
  • items being legal to take through customs
  • your conditions for reservations, payment, funds or cancellations
  • any other restrictions that you apply.

Overcharging

You must not overcharge tourists for goods and services. This means you must:

  • never charge an entry fee to access a free attraction (such as the beach)
  • display the total cost of a travel package in all quotes (including taxes and other charges)
  • not dominate tours with shopping, unless requested by the client.

Availability of supplies

You must provide all the goods or services that you advertise as inclusions in your travel package. You must tell tourists if good or services are unexpectedly unavailable. They can choose whether you will:

  • try to provide goods or services of a similar type, value and quality
  • refund the cost of the unavailable good or service
  • substitute other goods or services of similar value.

Handling employees and operators

You must make sure that your employees and operators:

  • maintain high professional standards
  • comply with the law.

Code of conduct

Make sure your tour guides follow the code of conduct (PDF, 306KB). They must clearly display identification, which will need to:

  • include their full name and business address
  • feature a recent colour photo
  • give your name and business/trading name.

They must not:

  • stop a tourist from shopping in a shop or buying goods or services from an alternative supplier
  • prevent a person from lawfully advertising or giving information to a tourist about travel or other services
  • withhold a tourist’s access to a person, advertising or information
  • confiscate or withhold a tourist’s money, passport, personal documents or other property
  • make false or misleading representations
  • use unfair tactics or high-pressure sales.

Other standards

You must make sure that your employees and operators:

  • are citizens or have an appropriate visa to work in Queensland
  • have appropriate working conditions, including fair wages
  • fulfil their Workplace Health and Safety requirements
  • are fluent in the language of any tourists they directly deal with.

Keeping records and paperwork

You must keep up-to-date paperwork. This means you need to keep your:

  • financial records and other documents for 7 years (including accounting records)
  • all itineraries, quotes and travel package promotions for 2 years.