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Hi all! 

I have a few questions about starting a tour company in the UK. This forum has been extremely helpful, but I want to be sure that I am understanding the legal processes correctly. Could anyone offer advice about what things must be done (and in what order do they need to be done) to legally start a tour business?

Brief description of the business: A small start-up that will offer day and weekend trips to students around the UK. No air travel involved, but will sell package tours that include coach transportation and ferry transportation in combination with activities, meals, and accommodation. 

Please let me know if this is the correct order I should be doing things in: 

  1. Register business with Companies House 
  2. Set up company for corporation tax 
  3. Open a business bank account for company 
  4. Apply for membership with TTA, Trust My Travel, or the Travel Vault (as they are supposed to help advise about what type of insurance I should get) 
  5. Get insurance 

Is this correct? I'm really struggling with number 4, as it seems impossible to gain membership to any of those associations as a brand new start up. I requested an application from the Travel Vault, but am struggling to answer many of their questions as I don't yet know a lot of the facts and figures they request. Would anyone suggest that I skip #4 (for now at least) and instead just apply for the appropriate insurance through a broker who can offer some guidance? Are there any other important steps missing?

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Yes skip 4 it wont benefit you they are mainly for air etc. But you need 5 straight away. You will also need some licence accreditaion to work with students as they are high risk clientelle. Point 5 for insurance youll be looking at £600-700 insurance.

Thanks Rahul! 

Do you know if the insurance company could advise about getting the appropriate accreditation? Also, any recommendations for the best insurance brokers for start-up travel companies?


Google can inform you but yes the insurance will. They may also say you need the accreditation first.

Having studied a BA Honours degree in travel and tourism management, I think dependent on exactly what kind of student tours your doing it may depend. if your doing university for examples you may not need a licence but would definetely need insurance/s and CRB checking. But you would have to verify this. I know most universities want accreditation and insurance.

Hi Kara,

Congratulations on starting your business. I would say you are just about spot on with your running order, however you will need all in place to apart from 5 before you start taking payment. TOLI Insurance is not needed until your first group travel, but its worth having a price on a premium. The only item to consider is your T&C's.

You would need to be PTR 1992 complaint as there are 2 or more elements in your package that take place over a 24 hour period. We offer a trust account and back end booking platform to help you administer your business. We can also offer an excellent premium for TOLI Insurance. Please get in touch on 02071 90 99 88 or email 

I will run trough all of your obligations as Tour Operator and any other advice or information you may need.

Kind Regards


Hi Neil, 

Thanks for the response. I will email you now :) 



Hi Kara, 

My name is Jade and I work for Trust My Travel as Sales Support and MPOS Co-ordinator. I can see from your post that you were considering applying for a membership with Trust My Travel, therefore I thought I would introduce myself and provide you with a bit more information on what we do.

So just to give you a brief overview - Trust My Travel provides financially protected payment solutions designed specifically for the travel industry. 
We started out by providing Trust Accounts which offers 100% protection for Travel Providers and their customers and from there we have added more specific products such as TripPayments (A low cost way of managing your supplier payments worldwide), Multi Currency Pricing (Making every sale domestic), Protected Processing Accounts (Your funds are protected by an insurance policy and you receive a regular payout of funds) and our MPOS terminals (Designed to support mobile and in store business). By offering all of these services it allows us to provide an all round payment solution to Travel Merchants of all sizes and requirements. 
If you have any questions or you would like to receive additional information please don't hesitate to get in touch. 
You can reach me via email -
All the best 




I just wanted to do the same but accommodation only, I can not find my answers and cannot trust any website what to do.

To be accommodation only, what do I have to do? Do I have to get any licence? I need public liability, I can find a insurance company but my worry is if anything happens would they say they do not cover because I don't have Atol- Abta or any license. 

How did you manage at the end, Kara? Would appreciate if you can pass me your experiences.

Thank you in advance.





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