Permission to operate a travel agency
In accordance with the Tourism Act, a travel agency denotes a party, whether an individual or a legal entity, which organises, offers and sells package tours for a professional purpose, whether on own initiative or in response to a customers request, within Iceland or abroad. A travel agency can also undertake and provide all the travel-related services of a tour operator, whether in the form of package tours or not. The concept of a travel agency covers both travel wholesalers and travel retailers in accordance with Act No. 80/1994 with regard to package tours.
Any party that wishes to operate as a tour operator or a travel agency shall obtain a licence from the Icelandic Tourist Board for this purpose. The licence certificate shall be issued by the Icelandic Tourist Board and the licence holder is obliged to make it visible to customers at his centre of operations. The Icelandic Tourist Board shall be in possession of a graphic logo which the holder is permitted to use on the issue of the licence. This logo is to be used by the licence holder in any advertising of his operations and on his home page. A licence for the operation of a tour operator and a travel agency does not carry a time limit. Only those who have obtained a licence from the Icelandic Tourist Board are authorised to include the terms tour operator or travel agency in the name of their operation.
The activities of a tour operator and travel agency shall be conducted at a permanent centre of operation which is to be open to the public at specified hours. An exception from this provision is permitted, however, when a service is wholly conducted electronically, in which event the licence holder must fulfil the terms of Article 6 of Act No. 30/2002 relating to electronic commerce and other electronic services with respect to home page content. It is permitted to operate a branch of the operation of a tour operator or travel agency on the basis of the licence, on condition that the branch director also fulfil the stipulations listed in the following sections a-e. The Icelandic Tourist Board determines which Icelandic tour associations are exempted from the provisions of this Act with respect to domestic travel.
A licence for the operation of a tour operator and travel agency shall be submitted to the Icelandic Tourist Board no less than two months before the proposed activity is to begin. In order to obtain a licence, the applicant, or his legal representative must fulfil the following conditions:
a. have their domicile in a member state of the European Economic Area or in a state which is signatory to the Instrument of Constitution of the European Free Trade Association or in the Faroes.
b. have reached the age of 20
c. be financially independent and must not, in connection with a business operation, have been sentenced, in the past four years, for a breach of law according to the general penal code, the Act relating to public limited companies, private limited companies, book-keeping, annual financial statements, bankruptcy or the payment of official duties nor the Tourism Act.
d. be legally in charge of his private assets.
e. not having been deprived of the licence of tour operator or travel agency during the three years previous to application date.
f. present a confirmation of liability insurance from an insurance company