Tourism and Events Information for Victoria’s tourism industry

Starting a tourism attraction

Find out what it takes to be a tourist attraction

Understanding what is a considered a tourist attraction will help you decide the actions you'll need to take to get started.

A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, or amusement opportunities.

Arts and crafts outlets, nurseries, garden centres and most retail establishments are generally not considered to be tourist attractions – unless the premises are significantly large and they provide a value-added experience. This includes having a well-known or established artist in residence, or interpretative tours of the premises are conducted.

For wineries to be considered a tourist attraction, they must provide wine tastings and cellar door sales. Wineries that are only 'open by appointment', are not considered a tourist attraction.

Early stage

Before establishing a tourist attraction, consider the following questions regarding the type of tourist attraction you intend to establish.

  • How much will the operation realistically cost to set up?
  • How much money do you have available to invest in the business?
  • Could you cover operating costs from other income sources or savings until the business breaks-even (typically 2 to 3 years)?
  • Is your location suitable for your proposed business?
  • Will your location easily capture passing trade?
  • Will your location be eligible for tourist sign-posting?
  • What types of customers will be attracted to your attraction?
  • Are your customers readily accessible?
  • Are there enough customers to sustain your business?
  • Where and how will you find your customers?
  • Will your attraction represent quality and value for money?
  • How will your attraction differ from the attractions already available in the region, or in the state?

Next stage

Once you have developed a business plan, you'll need to get registrations and licences for certain activities and apply for permits.

To find out which registrations, licences and permits you need for your tourist attraction, use the Australian Business Licence Information Service (ABLIS).

Common types of registrations, permits and licences required for tourist attractions

Registration of Food Premises

Under the Victorian Food Act 1984, a tourist attraction that provides food also needs a Registration of Food Premises from their local council. Contact an Environmental Health Officer from your council health department who will take you through the registration process to ensure you comply with state and federal legal obligations.

Planning permit

When you set up a new business, undertake land or building development, or change the purpose of an existing property, it's essential to apply for a planning permit from your local council.

Planning schemes regulate the use and development of land. A planning permit provides evidence that the council has given you permission to develop your property.

Make an appointment with a council planning officer who will take you through the application process. You'll be advised on the zoning of your land and any other local planning conditions that apply to your development.

Building permit

If your development involves construction, demolition, alteration, or extension of a building, you may need a building permit. A building permit can be issued by either your local council, building surveyor or a private registered building surveyor.

The building permit gives permission for building work to go ahead and ensures that building regulations are followed. If you're unsure if you need a building permit, contact either your council building department or engage the services of a private registered building surveyor.

Pools and spas

A building permit is usually required for a pool or spa more than 300mm deep, and for the         installation/alteration of a pool or spa safety barrier.

Outdoor dining and street trading permit

If you decide to have furniture such as table and chairs on the footpath or establish an outdoor eating facility, you'll need to obtain a permit from your local council.

Music licence

If your business is playing recorded music for commercial use, you may need to obtain music licences from the Australian Performing Rights Association and/or Phonographic Performance Company of Australia.

Page last updated: 30 Aug 2023
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