Join Us

and our 1000+ members.


Starting a Business in the Tourism Industry

At TiCSA we understand that it can be a challenging process trying to identify all the elements that you need to develop a sustainable and successful business. That is why we have developed this page as a guide to support your new business development in the tourism industry.

All the information provided has been gathered for your convenience, however, not everything stated will be suitable for your situation and should only be used as a guideline. Before you commence your business operations, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified accountant or lawyer. Additionally, you may like to contact your nearest local government business advisory provider for further assistance on starting a tourism business.

TiCSA members also have access to the Members Portal containing useful business tools and information on the organisations of relevance to you.

Set Up Your Business

This is where you need to decide on your business structure, acquire an Australian Business Number (ABN), register your business name, register for tax and set up your business insurance.

For detailed infomation on how to set up your business, visit the Australian Government ‘Starting a Business Guide’ here

How TiCSA Can Help

If you are endeavouring to develop a new business, attending informative events and workshops can help improve your knowledge of the tourism industry, identify market changes and provide you with the opportunity to connect and network with other members and business leaders in the industry.

A great step towards gaining information about the tourism industry is to become a member of TiCSA. A TiCSA membership offers valuable opportunities to grow your business and to develop industry connections across South Australia.

As part of your membership you will recieve access to the Quality Tourism Framework which will provide you with tools and templates designed to help you develop your business, marketing and operational plans.

Tour and Transport Operators

Tour and transport operators are passionate about what they do and aim to share their knowledge and experience with the community. Before starting your tourism business, it may be necessary for you to obtain certain licenses and permits to be able to run a successful business.

Advice from the Industry

Tour operators are friendly, fun and factual. People on tours want an engaging experience with a credible, entertaining and knowledgeable guide. Personality, passion and understanding your audience play a large role in delivering a memorable adventure.

Research is important. You should conduct market research and learn about business operations to identify if you have a viable business idea. Gaining experience and training in the industry will help you develop your knowledge and skills and affirm if this really is the right business opportunity for you.

Land, Air & Sea Considerations

Your business may need one or more of the following:


  • Commercial Tour Operator License.
  • Permit to undertake activities in Australian Government Parks and Reserves – Australian Government (Including Marine Reserves).
  • Become a member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA).
  • Driver’s license and classification.
  • Explore the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
  • Large passenger vehicle operator accreditation certificate & small passenger vehicle operator accreditation certificate.
  • Roadworthy inspection.


  • Commercial Pilot’s License.
  • Certificate of Airworthiness.
  • Air Operators Certificate (AOC).


  • Comply with the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV).
  • License to operate a motor boat.
  • License to operate a houseboat.

Download our detailed guidelines for more information.


Accommodation provides a home away from home and can cover a variety of businesses including hotels, motels, serviced apartments, bed and breakfast and caravan and camping parks. Before you start to accommodate your guests, there may be certain regulations that will apply to your business.

Advice from the Industry

It is a great idea to do your market research before opening a hosted accommodation business. This includes reviewing other operators in your area and assessing their business offerings, prices and location. This research will help you identify market niches and formulate your unique selling point (USP). Your USP will help you to develop your core product and pinpoint your target market, which will be key to ensuring you use your marketing budget wisely.

It is also important to join your state tourism body, which will support you by offering opportunities to network, become accredited and apply for state and national tourism awards.

Accommodation Considerations

Your business may need one or more of the following:

  • Review the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) guide.
  • Become a member of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA).
  • Become a member of the Hosted Accommodation Australia Ltd (HAA).
  • Lodging House License.
  • Planning and Property: Adhere to the building rules, regulations and permits of your state or local council.
  • Public Swimming Pools & Spa Pools: Check with your local council to identify your pool rating and requirements.
  • License to Play Music in Motels and Other Accommodation.
  • License to Play Music in a Hotel, Pub, Tavern or Bar.
  • Certain states may require you to obtain approval to operate a caravan park or camping grounds.
  • Check with your local council to see if you need a license to hold an event at a bed and breakfast.

For information about food standards and liquor licenses, visit the ‘Food and Beverage’ tab.

Download our detailed guidelines for more information.

Attractions, Recreation and Events

Attractions, recreational activites and events can be a great way to provide both domestic and international visitors with an engaging and entertaining experience. We have identified some considerations to help you start up a safe and responsible tourism business.

Advice from the Industry

Anybody wanting to start a new business in the tourism industry should do their market research. There are  number of providers already established within the industry and adventure tourism businesses can take a long time to become successful. If you do not have the financial backing for a long-term investment, then you may want to rethink your strategic planning.

Attraction, Recreation and Event Considerations

Your business may need one or more of the following:


  • Approval to conduct commercial activities on council park-lands, reserves, rivers or lakes.
  • Music event license.
  • Recommendation: If you operate a bed and breakfast business, your local council may require you to obtain a license to run events at/on your property.

Attractions and Recreation

  • Review the Adventure Activity Standards.
  • Abseiling and Rock Climbing: Consult The Professional Association of Climbing Instructors Pty Ltd.
  • Rafting: Consult The International Rafting Federation (IRF).
  • Recreational Scuba Diving: Requires diver certification.
  • Snow Sports: Consider becoming a member of the Australian Ski Areas Association (ASAA).
  • Quad Bike’s: Adhere to The Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standards 2019.
  • Recreational Fishing: Consult with local council to identify fishing requirements, licenses and permits.

For information about food standards and liquor licenses, visit the ‘Food and Beverage’ tab.

Download our detailed guidelines for more information.

Food and Beverage

If you intend to serve food and beverages as part of your tourism business operations, there are important licenses, permits and regulations you must follow to ensure you provide food and beverages in a responsible way.

Advice from the Industry

Running a business is not just about your financial success but also about how you support your community and the environment. Use local suppliers where possible and implement environmental measures such as reducing or eliminating the need for single-use plastics.

Preparation is key! Before you start to operate a business which provides food or beverages, you should gain approval from your local council and S.A Water to help ensure your business is functional and up to standard. Having a long-term business plan, well-trained staff and a considered marketing strategy will help you avoid future complications and further improve the quality of your business.

Food and Beverage Considerations

Your business may need one or more of the following:

  • Council Permits (E.g. Food Business Notification S.A).
  • Participate in Local Council Food Safety Programs.
  • Comply with the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.
  • Review the Food Safety (SA Health) guidelines.
  • Liquor Licensing Act 1997.
  • South Australia Food Act 2001.
  • Liquor (Licenses, approval of a responsible person, running a licensed venue and varying existing liquor licenses).
  • License to play music in restaurants and cafes.
  • Trade Waste Discharge Permit.

Download our detailed guidelines for more information.

Visitor Information Centres

There are 40 Accredited Visitor Information Centres (VICs) across the state. South Australian Visitor Centres are a great source of information and inspiration, providing visitors with quality service and reliable insight on what experiences and products are on offer.

For tourism businesses, your local visitor centre can provide critical on-ground marketing opportunities and support through networking and advice. Click here for a list of VICs with relevant contact details.

As Industry Leader Member of TiCSA, the SA Visitor Information Centre Network are one of our valued tourism partners.

The TiCSA Top 9

Complete the top nine steps for tourism business development to further improve your new business.

  1. Sign up to the Quality Tourism Framework.
  2. Become a Quality Tourism Accredited Business.
  3. Become a Star Rated Property.
  4. Register for ReviewPro.
  5. Enter the South Australian Tourism Awards.
  6. Attend the Tourism Awards Gala Dinner.
  7. Create your Australian Tourism Data Warehouse listing.
  8. Register for a business development workshop.
  9. Attend the State Tourism Conference.