Atherton Advisory Travel Law consultants

Laws & legal frameworks

Compliance, Security & Risk Management

Governance, institutions & administrative systems

Policy, planning & development

Trade & regional cooperation

Education, Training & Capacity Building

What is Tourism Law?
Tourism Law is eclectic and can be divided into two broad parts:
  • Firstly, the general laws which apply to this industry often in unexpected ways because of its peculiar characteristics eg damages for disappointment.
  • Second, the industry specific laws from the ancient common innkeepers and carriers doctrines to the labyrinth of local, state, federal and international regulations which now govern this industry.
Travel, by definition, involves cross border social, cultural and commercial transactions which arguably raise more regulatory challenges for this industry than perhaps any other.

Importance of Tourism Law
  • Tourism and travel is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries generating 10.4% of world GDP, 8.1% of world jobs and 12.2% of world exports in 2004. (source
  • Tourism and travel offers the best prospects for generating employment and sustainable development, particularly in developing countries.
  • There is an increasing recognition by industry, government and international agencies that effective laws and institutions are fundamental to achieving successful outcomes.

Background To ITLI
ITLI is a private institution formed in 1998 by Trevor & Trudie Atherton to further teaching, research and publication activities in the field of Tourism Law. Its general activities are sponsored by their consultancy practice Atherton Advisory and projects are funded from fees for services. Donor support is sought for worthwhile projects for developing countries or disadvantaged communities.

Trevor Atherton is an international lawyer with 25 years experience spanning practice, management, government and academia. His qualifications and experience in law, accounting and management are complemented by special expertise in property, development and tourism. He has published extensively and is a regular presenter at national and international conferences in these matters.

Trevor commenced the academic side of his career in 1991 when he co-founded the Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Studies at Bond University and established and directed the program in Tourism Law and Policy which he ran until moving back into full time consultancy and professional practice in 1998.

He pioneered Tourism Law as a new field in teaching, research and publication. It was launched internationally at the PATA/WTO conference on Human Resources for Tourism Conference in Bali, Indonesia 1993
While law is the core discipline, the subject also examines the social, economic, environmental, marketing, planning, development and management issues involved in regulating this industry. Students from over 30 countries have studied at undergraduate and graduate level in the programs and a comparative, international and interdisciplinary approach to the subject has always been encouraged.

Trudie Atherton, who is similarly qualified, took over coordination of the teaching programs from 1997 and has since expanded the offerings into the University of Technology, Sydney. The Tourism Law subject materials and approach are enhanced by the extensive research and consultancy work which Trevor and Trudie Atherton have undertaken for industry, governments, UN agencies and international tourism organisations through Atherton Advisory . The courses are now offered at several universities in Australia and internationally and there are plans to further extend the offerings through various other international academic, aid and development agencies.

The development of this subject area has coincided with the growing recognition by stakeholders that:

  • tourism is a global industry which routinely involves transboundary travel, trade, transactions and social, cultural and environmental interactions
  • it presents the ultimate in opportunities and challenges for national and international regulation
  • to optimise the outcomes, the legal and institutional infrastructure is just as important as the physical infrastructure
  • emerging market economies face special challenges in designing, establishing and administering an adequate regulatory framework to handle international tourism.

Objects OF ITLI
  1. TEACHING To develop, conduct, host and participate in programs, courses, seminars and conferences.
  2. RESEARCH To undertake research directed to identifying international best practice in the regulation of tourism and travel and developing sustainable solutions to the problems faced by industry, government and host communities particularly in developing countries.
  3. PUBLICATION To encourage and facilitate publication, particularly of a comparative and interdisciplinary nature, reflecting the projects of the Institute and the research interests of the participants.
Continue to offer and develop the following courses through affiliated institutions.

Courses offered include:
Academic courses Vocational courses
Tourism Law
Travel Law
Tourism & Travel Law (graduate)
Tourism Planning & Development Law (graduate)
International Tourism Law & Policy
Law for National Tourism Administrations
Law for Travel Agents
Law for Tour Guides
Law for Tour Operators
Law for Hotels
Hospitality Law

Provide and participate in seminars, conferences and workshops on these subject areas.

Continue to research in these subject areas and also to supervise and support the research of other scholars through affiliated institutions. Continue to identify emerging issues, problems and promote research into best practice and solutions.

Research projects supervised by the Directors have included:
Research projects supervised
Individual post-graduate studies: LLM theses: SJD and doctoral theses:
Aboriginal Tourism
Liquor licensing
Self regulation: tourism codes of environmental practice
Regulating ecotourism
Risk management in hotel premises
Discrimination in the hospitality industry
Hospitality Law
Regulating Antarctic tourism
World heritage listing and national sovereignty
Law governing package holiday travel from Australia to Indonesia
Government role in tourism marketing
Liquor licensing and gaming Queensland/NSW comparative study
Strata titling of hotel developments
Risk Management in the Hospitality Industry
Regulation of tourism in Fiji
Regulation of commercial land development in Malaysia
Negotiating international air service agreements
Tourism policy and legislation in SE Asia and Australia
Foreign investment law and policy in Indochina
Negotiating international air service agreements
Travel industry intermediaries' legal obligations in the air travel transaction: a case for comprehensive codification (examiner for University of Queensland Law School)

Further support and promote further publication particularly by research students in the academic courses offered and by other interested scholars.

Books authored by the Directors include:

  • Atherton TC&TA, Tourism Travel and Hospitality Law LBC Sydney, 534 pages 1998. To purchase a copy Contact Us
  • Atherton, TC, The Regulation of Tourism Planning, Development and Management, MSc thesis Surrey University 178 pages, 1991.
  • Atherton TC&TA, Current Issues in Tourism and Travel Law chapter in book entitled Managing Tourist Health and Safety in the New Millennium, Wilks J an Page S (eds), Elsevier/Pergamon, London 2003.

The Directors have also published over 100 other articles, reports, studies and guides on their specialist subject areas. For information on any particular subject please Contact Us

Maintain and develop the extensive database on tourism law including the collection of international conventions, codes and regulatory materials, national best practice and models laws.
Provide searches of the database upon request.
Develop a system for publication, access and searching on line.

Affiliated Institutions
To communicate with other academic institutions that have legal and or tourism programs to offer the specialist courses and encourage affiliation and cooperation in teaching, research and publication.

Australian accommodation