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How to Start a Tourism Business in Australia [Business Plan]

A tourism business is a business that helps travelers or tourists plan their visits by providing either one or several services such as lodging, food, a guide, et al. In 2020, the market size of the global tourism sector declined over the previous year, reaching 1.09 trillion U.S. dollars.

This industry’s market size was forecast to rise to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021. Available statistics show that Australia is a world-leading tourist destination. The country’s tourism sector contributes $152 billion to the economy, supports more than 300,000 businesses, and employs more than 660,000 Australians.

In the year ending June 2020, there were over 158 thousand non-employing tourism businesses in Australia. In total, there were 896 large tourism-related businesses in the same year.

Steps on How to Start a Tourism Business in Australia

  1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research before starting any business is key to the success of the business hence you must not start a tourism business without conducting market research. This is because Market research provides critical information about your market and your business landscape.

It can tell you how your business is perceived by the customers and clients you want to reach. It can help you determine who and where your customers are, and which customers are most likely to do business with you. In essence, thorough market research will help you understand how your target customers think and adapt to their needs to turn them into regular customers and brand advocates.

a. Who is the Target Market for Tourism Business?

If you are thinking of starting a tourism business then you should make target demographics all-encompassing. It should include corporate executives, socialites, students, business people, celebrities, sportsmen and women, tourists, and every adult in and around your target market.

b. Is Tourism Business a Profitable Business in Australia?

The tourism business is very profitable in Australia. Available statistics show that Australia is a world-leading tourist destination. The country’s tourism sector contributes $152 billion to the economy, supports more than 300,000 businesses, and employs more than 660,000 Australians.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to the tourism business. Here are some of them;

  • Sustainable tourism
  • Food tourism
  • Experiential tourism
  • Wellness tourism
  • Business tourism
  • Educational tourism
  • Medical tourism
  • Domestic Tourism
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Flight Centre Travel Group Limited
  • Helloworld Travel Limited
  • Expedia Australia Pty Limited
  • com (Australia) Pty Limited
  • Concierge Traveller.
  • Hunter Travel Group.
  • Mann Travel.
  • Phil Hoffmann Travel.
  • Spencer Travel
  • Insight Vacations
  • G Adventures
  • Under Down Under Tours
  • Globus
  • Intrepid Travel
  • Wildlife Tours Australia
  • Mulgas Tours
  • AAT Kings
  • Untamed Escapes
  • SITA World Tours
  • Exodus Travels.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Tourism Business in Australia?

Yes, there are regulations and zoning laws for tourism business in Australia and they are as follows;

Tourism legislation

Queensland’s tourism industry is governed by several laws governing transport, accommodation, business, and activities in environmentally protected areas, such as:

Tour operators and guides

In terms of protecting tourists in their dealings with inbound tour operators and tour guides, tourism in Queensland is regulated by the Tourism Services Act 2003.

Standard business legislation

As a tourism business, you will be required to comply with standard business legislation, such as the Fair Trading Act 1989 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Environmental legislation

Depending on where you operate your business, you may also be required to comply with environmental legislation, such as the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Marine Parks Act 2004.

Other state and federal laws

Various other state and federal laws apply to trade and business activity and you should be aware of the requirements that apply to your business. The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) is a useful starting point.

f. Is There a Franchise for Tourism Business in Australia?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the tourism business. Here are some of them;

  • Choice Hotels Asia-Pac
  • Quest Apartment Hotels.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Tourism Business in Australia?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Become ATAS accredited
  • Business Insurance Protection
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Employees
  • Startup and Working Capital
  • Relevant Software
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a tourism business are;

Creative Tourism Business Name ideas
  • The Queens© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Savanah Connect® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Moris Jackson© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Travel Solutions® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Mason Gray™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • World View™ Tourism business, LLC.
  • Sight and Sounds© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Jonny Moore® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Travel Mamia© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Anthonio© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Global Throttle® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Cally Benton® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Emily Elton™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Tyler Benston© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Around The World® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Santos Marcos™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Golden Trips™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • Anderson Global© Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • One Stop® Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  • First Class™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Tourism Business in Australia?

Even though there are several options (Sole trader, Partnership, Company, or Trust) when it comes to the business structure of a tourism business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is a Partnership. It is common to consider a Partnership because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

If you settle for a Company, then you should be aware that Companies are regulated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and you must apply for a tax file number (TFN) and use it when lodging your annual tax return.

You will be entitled to an Australian business number (ABN) if it is registered under the Corporations Act 2001. A company not registered under the Corporations law may register for an ABN if it is carrying on an enterprise in Australia and you must be registered for GST if its annual GST turnover is $75,000 or more.

b. Steps to Form Partnership
  • Choose a Name for Your Business
  • Form a Partnership Agreement.
  • Register Your Partnership.
  • Consider Your Taxation Registrations.
  • Open a Partnership Bank Account.
c. What Type of Licenses and Permits are Needed to Start a Tourism Business in Australia?

The permits and licenses you need to run a tourism business in Australia will depend on the services you offer (e.g. transport, accommodation, meals) and where you offer them (e.g. Great Barrier Reef or Fraser Island). There are local, state, and Australian government laws that apply to trade and business activities and you should be aware of the requirements that apply to your business.

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) is an excellent resource to help you find government licenses, permits, approvals, registrations, codes of practice, standards, and guidelines.

d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start Tourism Business in Australia?

These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run a tourism business;

  • ATAS Accreditation
  • Certified Travel Agent (CTA)
  • Travel and Tourism Professional (TTP)
  • Total Travel Certification (TTC)
  • Professional Travel Agent (PTA).
e. What Documents are Needed to Start Tourism Business in Australia?
  • Business and Liability Insurance
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Permit to Conduct Commercial Activities in Commonwealth Parks and Reserves
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (if you have a website)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a tourism business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Tourism Business in Australia?

To be truthful, the cost required to start a tourism business in Australia may vary significantly and it could be high, moderate, or low. But on average, you can budget between $10,000 to over $100,000 to start your tourism business in Australia.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Tourism Business in Australia?
  • Business Registration Fees – AUS$417 – $506.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – AUS$7,300.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – AUS$5,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – AUS$2,500.
  • Insurance – AUS$5,400.
  • Rent/Lease – AUS$35,000.
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – AUS$30,000
  • Relevant Software Applications – AUS$4,750
  • Website: AUS$600
  • Opening party: AUS$3,000
  • Miscellaneous: AUS$2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Starting Tourism Business?
  • The size of the business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The type of office facility
  • The type of additional service offerings
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the tourism business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
  • The cost of insurance
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the tourism business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your tourism business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Tourism Business?
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Executive Officer – AUS$62,000 Per Year
  • Admin and HR Manager – AUS$42,000 Per Year
  • Travels and Tours Consultant – AUS$40,000 Per Year
  • Marketing and Sales Executive AUS$40,000 Per Year
  • Accountant – AUS$38,000 Per Year
  • Customer Care Executive/Front Desk Officer – AUS$32,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start Tourism Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Golden Trips™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd. is an Australian-based tourism business with head office in Melbourne Victoria.

Golden Trips™ Tourism Company, Pty Ltd. is a client-focused and result-driven travel and tour agency that provides broad-based experience at an affordable fee that won’t in any way put a hole in the pocket of our clients. We will offer professional travel and tour services to our clients at local, state, national, and international levels.

b. Products and Service
  • Travel and tour consulting and advisory services for individuals and corporate clients
  • Selling of traveling and tourism-related insurance policy cover, travel guides, and foreign currencies.
  • Booking of flights
  • Securing transit visas
  • Booking for shuttle buses/taxi cabs
  • Car rental services
  • Hotel bookings
  • Cruise line booking
  • Tour guide, Sightseeing, and Translation services.
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to establish a tourism business that will provide top-notch services to both individual and corporate clients in Australia and across the world.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to establish a standard tourism business that will become the leading brand in the travel and tourism line of business in the whole of Melbourne, Victoria, and also to be amongst the top 20 travel and tourism agencies in Australia within the first 10 years of operation.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of the tourism business are to provide travel and tourism-related services to the general public.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Travels and Tours Consultant
  • Marketing and Sales Executive
  • Accountant
  • Customer Care Executive / Front Desk Officer

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Ideal location for tourism business
  • Highly experienced and qualified employees and management
  • Access to finance from business partners and tourism services providers
  • Availability of different types of travel and tourism-related services.
  • Financial constraints may restrict the publicity and branding of the business
  • A new business that will be competing with well-established tourism businesses and franchises in the city and on the internet.
  • Inability to retain our highly experienced and qualified employees longer than we want during the teething stage of the business.
  • A rise in the number of travel and tourism activities
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the starting of new markets.
  • The arrival of new tourism business within our market space
  • Low demand during the pandemic will reduce industry profitability.
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
  • The government could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses like ours.
b. How Do Tourism Businesses Make Money?

The tourism business makes money (commissions) by offering the following services;

  • Travel and Tour consulting and advisory services for clients
  • Selling of traveling-related insurance policy cover, sale of travel guide books, and the sale of foreign currencies
  • Booking for flight tickets
  • Securing transit visas
  • Booking for shuttle buses/taxi cabs
  • Car rental services
  • Hotel bookings
  • Tour guide, Sightseeing, and Translation services.
c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your tourism business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, hotels, transport companies, households, sports organizations, schools, and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your tourism business is located.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products.
  • Join local tourism business associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise our business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?

The amount tourism agencies charge their clients depends on the type of services rendered and of course the commission the third-party provider is willing to give.

b. How Much Profit Do Tourism Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average a small to medium-sized tourism business can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $120,000 in personal income.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the tourism business
  • The types of services offered
  • The location the tourism business is covering
  • The management style of the tourism business
  • The business approach of the tourism business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the tourism business.
  • The number of years the tourism business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Tourism Business?

Please note that tourism agents’ commissions used to be the bulk of their income but that has shifted. Most travel and tourism agents who earn commission booking tickets on airlines earn 5 percent on domestic flights and 10 to 20 percent on international flights. The commission rates are similar for booking hotels.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast of a tourism business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in Australia;

  • First Fiscal Year: $320,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $450,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $540,000
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Tourism Business?
  • The demography of the location especially as it relates to people that travel regularly
  • The demand for the services offered by tourism businesses in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of tourism businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What Cities are Best to Start a Tourism Business in Australia?
  • Sydney New South Wales
  • Melbourne Victoria
  • Bondi Beach NSW
  • Brisbane QLD
  • Armadale, Victoria
  • Adelaide SA
  • Burswood WA
  • Hawthorn East, Victoria
  • Osborne Park WA
  • Perth WA
  • Surfers Paradise Gold Coast QLD
  • Southport Gold Coast QLD.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Tourism Business?
  • Booking software
  • Computers and laptops
  • Printers
  • Telephone
  • Fax machine.
  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard tourism business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), human resource and admin manager, accountant, travel and tour consultants, and call center agents.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

In recent times, no tourism business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the tourism business, you will officially inform people in your city that your tourism business is open for business.

a. What Makes Tourism Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and office facility to launch the business
  • Make sure your partner with key stakeholders and offer a wide range of travel and tour services (give your customers options)
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your tourism business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Tourism Business?
  • The office is open for the day’s work
  • The walk-in areas, chairs, and tables are properly arranged
  • Walk-in customers are attended to
  • Deliveries of visas, flight tickets, and hotel bookings et al are made
  • Reports are written and submitted to superior officers
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build Tourism Business?
  • Excellent customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in a travel and tour environment
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling different types of booking software.