Every state has general consumer and fraud statutes—some specifically addressing travel service companies—but some states require additional registration from sellers of travel.
Under Florida's sellers of travel law, any person or business that is a seller or promoter of travel-related services is required to register annually with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The law applies to businesses located both within Florida and outside the state that are working with individuals or groups within Florida.
Tour operators working with Florida school groups require additional registration.
"Student tour operator" is a special designation under Florida's sellers of travel law. Sellers of travel who wish to function as a student tour operator to groups in the state are required to first register as a seller of travel—and then provide proof to FDACS that they meet the additional student tour operator requirements.
To meet the requirements for registration, student tour operators must be current on all state and local business taxes and submit:
- A completed student tour operator registration form.
- Proof of seller of travel registration.
- Maintain a current Level 2 security clearance with the Florida Department of Education.
- Proof of insurance coverage issued by a company authorized to transact business in Florida.
Student tour operators selling travel to student groups in Florida require additional insurance: general liability of at least $1,000,000; professional liability of at least $1,000,000; and workers compensation coverage of at least $500,000 or proof of exemption for fewer than four employees.
Student tour operator designations with FDACS must be renewed annually before the annual expiration of the seller of travel license and student tour operator designation. For more information on the requirements for registering as a student tour operator with FDACS, visit www.freshfromflorida.com/business-services/student-tour-operators.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.