Dubai is one of the world’s most attractive cities and a recognized tourism destination. The flourishing tourism industry also attracts foreign investors wanting to set up travel agencies in Dubai.
If you want to set up a travel agency and need guidance, our company formation specialists in Dubai are at your disposal with information and services in order for you to have a successful start on the market. They can help you apply for a tourism license in Dubai.
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What to consider when opening a travel agency in Dubai
A travel agency can be operated as a limited liability company or as a sole proprietorship. It is important to make this distinction because of the registration and licensing requirements. In the case of LLCs registered as travel agencies, the requirements are more stringent. When setting up a travel agency as a sole proprietorship, the business owner will be required to become a certified travel agent.
Before starting the registration procedure for the company which will operate as travel agency, a foreign investor will need to consider a few, but very important aspects:
- the business form under which the travel agency will operate is very important;
- it is also important to establish if the company will operate in Dubai or one of its free zones;
- as a foreign entrepreneur, you will need to appoint a local agent to register the company on your behalf;
- it is important to carefully choose the type of travel agency license you will apply for;
- one must understand the travel and tourism license cost in Dubai;
- ensuring you have sufficient funds to set up the business is another aspect to consider.
In matters of company incorporation procedures for a Dubai travel agency, our local consultants can offer full services, including tax and VAT registration, according to the latest changes in the legislation.
If choosing to operate in one of Dubai’s free zones, as foreign investors, you will be able to fully control your business, as no local partner is required. However, the activities of your travel agency will be limited to offering your services to clients in the respective free zone. Please talk to our experts about travel and tourism license cost in Dubai.
Steps to open a travel agency in Dubai
The process to open a travel agency in Dubai is not complicated, if all the necessary steps for registration are followed. It is also important to apply for the right type of tourism license in Dubai when considering opening a Dubai travel agency. The following types of licenses are available at the moment:
- the travel company license,
- the travel agency license,
- the inbound travel operator license,
- the outbound travel operator license.
Obtaining one of these licenses depends on the type of company investors want to register in Dubai. Investors must also know that, in order to receive a tourism license in Dubai, the amount of AED 100,000 must be deposited with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. More about travel and tourism license cost in Dubai can be discussed with our agents in the area.
The documents to be submitted for the issuance of the Dubai travel agent license
The documentation that must be submitted with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce along with the deposit is:
- an application form,
- copies of the passports of the applicants and manager,
- a family record ‘khulasat Al Qid’ and a copy of the identification documents for UAE nationals,
- a notarized copy of the manager’s certificate of experience,
- the owner and manager’s certificates of good conduct,
- a no objection letter issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The video below shows the main steps to open a travel agency in Dubai:
Requirements for opening a travel agency in Dubai
The manager of a Dubai travel agency must have three years of experience if he or she has a university diploma or a certificate in travel and tourism, or five years of experience if he or she only has a high school diploma.
In order to receive the tourism license in Dubai, the applicant must:
- pay an initial approval fee,
- request the approval of the agency’s trade name,
- supply an insurance policy;
- provide a lease contract and the blueprint of the location where the travel agency will operate;
- pay the tourism license fee in Dubai.
The contract must be signed for at least three months and the office space must have at least 30 meters for each activity.
Obtaining an inbound/outbound travel agency license in Dubai
Two of the most employed types of licenses for travel agencies in Dubai are the inbound and outbound licenses which will allow the company to sell vacation packages inside, respectively outside the UAE. A Dubai travel agency can obtain one or both licenses, based on the services it wants to offer.
The following requirements must be completed in order to obtain any of the two licenses:
- an application form which is issued by the Department for Tourism and Commerce Marketing;
- in the case of a foreign owner, a copy of the passport must also be submitted;
- a feasibility report on the project to be completed, if a new facility is to be built;
- a certificate that proves the qualifications of the travel agency’s manager;
- a certificate that proves the good conduct of the business owner.
Even if the requirements are similar to the application for a travel agency license it should be noted that the application for an inbound/outbound license is filed with the Department for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, while the travel agency license must be obtained with the Department of Economic Development. The latter type of license also allows the travel agency to organize fairs, trade shows, conventions, and other MICE events.
It is also mandatory for the agency to appoint a travel agent who is subject to specific qualification requirements.
Activities of travel agencies in Dubai
The most common structure employed to set up a travel agency in Dubai is the limited liability company. The activities an agency can undertake are inbound and outbound tour operators which allows it to organize events and tours within and outside the UAE. The travel agency is also enabled to handle visa procedures for foreign tourists. All travel agencies must have insurance policies that will cover all their activities for the duration of the license. The manager of the travel agency must have at least 3 years of experience and must also obtain clearance from the Police Department in Dubai.
The role of the travel agent in Dubai
As mentioned earlier, the travel agent is a mandatory requirement no matter the business form chosen by the owner. The travel agent plays an important role in the company, as he or she will have to complete the following activities:
- the agent will be in charge of the sale of flight tickets;
- he or she will provide the necessary support in obtaining the travel visa;
- the agent will be in charge of securing accommodation for the tourists;
- the agent will also ensure the transportation services and guided tours (where applicable).
The travel agent must obtain a certification issued by the Civil Aviation Department in Dubai.
5 simple steps to open a travel agency in Dubai
A travel agency in Dubai can be an excellent business choice, both for local and foreign investors, due to the profits that can be made in this sector. Registering a travel agency in Dubai is quite simple, but you need to keep in mind the formalities imposed by the authorities. But to get an idea about this type of company and its incorporation, you can follow these steps:
- Inbound or outbound tour operator? What is the choice for the future travel agency in Dubai? You have to establish this from the very beginning.
- Name your business – As soon as you have decided on the type of activities you want to develop in Dubai, you can check and reserve the company name.
- A business license is important for opening a travel agency. You can find out from our agents information about travel and tourism license cost in Dubai.
- If you will have staff from outside the UAE, you must apply for employment visas. These can also be used as work permits, within the travel agency you want to open in Dubai.
- Opening a bank account for future financial operations is the next important step. Opening a travel agency in Dubai means developing a business, therefore, a bank account is required.
Establishing a business plan as well as the objectives to be achieved is important in the development of a travel agency in Dubai. Everything related to these aspects as well as the other establishment formalities can be explained in detail by our local agents with experience in this field, so we invite you to contact us. Also, they will explain to you what the tourism license fee in Dubai entails.
Employee visas for your foreign staff
As we mentioned in the steps above for setting up a travel agency in Dubai, you need to apply for employment visas if you want to hire staff from foreign countries. Important to mention is the fact that you must apply for this type of visa within 30 days from the date of their entry into the UAE with a tourist visa. The application starts with the formalities of the Ministry of Interior, the institution that issues the 60-day employment visa, which will be extended for a longer period. As for the necessary documents, you will need to present copies of valid passports, your trade license, as well as other documents related to the company. But to ensure that the whole process will be free of complexities, we invite you to use our services.
Why start a travel agency in Dubai?
Even if it might seem a lengthy procedure, opening a Dubai travel agency will bring many benefits to its owners. Amon these, substantial incomes and a great inbound and outbound market, as there are many Dubai residents exiting the UAE for their vacations, but also many foreigners coming to visit Dubai.
Travel agencies can also be licensed to organize various types of events, and the MICE industry in Dubai is quite developed. A foreign citizen living in Dubai based on a residence permit can apply for a travel agent license and thus set up such a business.
Making investments in Dubai is always a great business option
Dubai is among the most important financial centers in the world and the preferred business destination for many foreign investors. With amazing development in the last decades, Dubai represents one of the best options for those who want to establish their activities and enjoy profits as they go. The attractive tax system, the well-developed infrastructure as well as the multiple development possibilities in free trade zones with top facilities are aspects that foreign investors take into account when choosing Dubai for business. Here are some interesting figures in this regard:
- Total FDI for 2021 exceeded USD 171 billion.
- Also, the total value of greenfield investment was over USD 7 billion in the same year.
- The UAE wants to attract at least USD 150 billion for domestic projects, a plan was drawn up for 2030.
If you want to open a travel agency or any other type of company, you can contact our company formation agents in Dubai for details about the registration process and about the tourism license fee in Dubai. We remind you that we offer customized business registration services in Dubai no matter the type of company you intend to set up here.