Licensing of tour operators is subject stricter requirements

14.01.2015 Licensing of tour operators is subject stricter requirements

On 1 January 2015, the Description of the Procedure of Licensing Tour Operators (the “Description”) approved by the Director of the State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy came into effect.

It replaced the Procedure of Issuing, Suspension and Cancellation of Certificates of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies, which was applicable before it. The Description was prepared taking into account the new regulation introduced by the Law on Tourism, establishing additional requirements for performance of tour operators’ activities.

Main new requirements in the Description:

  • Only a tour operator can provide tour operator services (no more travel agencies);
  • A tour operator can be both a natural person and a legal entity;
  • The Description describes cases set in the Law on Tourism when the State Department of Tourism must suspend, cancel a tour operator’s certificate;
  • A tour operator (legal entity) must maintain its equity capital at the level equal to or more than 1/2 of its authorised capital;
  • The Description introduced a list of information about activities of a tour operator to be provided to the State Department of Tourism.

Commentary of Erika Dubovskytė, Associate at TGS Baltic: the amendments to the Law on Tourism and the Description are aimed at solving the issues of tour operators’ liability to tourists and consumers. Additional requirements regarding provision of information to the State Department of Tourism, also a longer list of causes for which a tour operator’s license can be suspended, should improve control over activities and financial situation of tour operators.