Licenses and Registrations
Starting a vacation tour company requires a business license from the local county, registering a fictitious business name, registering the business structure if required, and checking for any zoning ordinance if setting up a home office, just as it is the case with all other businesses.
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) provides certification courses to register as a Certified Travel Agent. While such a certification is not mandatory, it lends credibility to the business.
The United States Tour Operator Association and National Business Travel Association are two major professional associations that represent the industry. Membership in these organizations lends credibility, provides visibility, and helps gain useful and up-to-date information on the travel industry.
Registration with the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) provides an ARC number that allows issuance of airline and transportation tickets. This registration usually requires a bond of $20,000 and two years experience in the travel business.
Insurance is necessary for tour operators. One good place to approach for insurance is Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA).
It is advisable to open two bank accounts, one for the business operations, and other for receiving amount from clients.