It’s often said that Dubai is built for business. And while that’s undoubtedly true, there’s another growing demand that the emirate has been tailormade to meet – tourism.
Dubai’s famous skyline is as familiar to holidaymakers as it is to entrepreneurs. Millions flock here every year to experience ‘7-star’ luxury, first-class hospitality and a city in the desert like no other.
There are countless ways of meeting the needs of these visitors, and whatever your angle, you’ll find a niche in the Dubai tourism sector. In this article, we’ll look at the key points you’ll need to consider before starting your business out here, covering these areas:
- A brief overview of the thriving tourism industry in Dubai
- Benefits of starting a tourism company in Dubai
- Steps to open a tourism company in Dubai
- Cost of opening a tourism company in Dubai
- Activities permitted with a tourism license in Dubai
- How Worldwide formations can help
A brief overview of the thriving tourism industry in Dubai
Dubai’s tourist numbers have been growing at a rapid pace for decades. In the 1980s, the fledgling emirate was largely visited by other GCC nationals. Fast-forward to 2023, and it is one of the world’s leading tourism destinations, attracting almost 15 million international visitors per year.
Were it not for the disruption caused by the pandemic, this number may well have exceeded the tourist board’s long-held target of 20 million visitors over a 12-month period. In fact, with over 3 million travellers staying overnight in Dubai across January and February in 2023, this may well be the year that the emirate eclipses that target.
Tourists head here for a wide variety of reasons. Some use the emirate as a base to explore the wider UAE, others are drawn by Dubai’s reputation for luxury hospitality.
Benefits of starting a tourism company in Dubai
One major advantage of starting a tourism company in Dubai is demand. The UAE ranks among the world’s top 30 most visited countries, ahead of popular destinations like Australia, South Africa and Egypt. With such heavy footfall, there’s no shortage of opportunities for your business.
Dubai’s infrastructure is also a huge plus. From world-class hotels, restaurants and bars to reliable and well-connected transport links, it’s easy to be a tourist out here.
The UAE tax rate is always worth a mention, too. The country still levies 0% on both corporate and personal income and VAT remains low and flat at 5%. Depending on your country of origin, you may also be able to freely repatriate both capital and profits.
While there may be certain fees payable depending on the nature of your business, there’s no doubt that this is an incredibly cost-effective place from which to trade.
Finally, Dubai’s company formation process has been honed over the years to be as simple as possible. That said, it is best undertaken with the help of local experts to ensure a fast, smooth and affordable service.
Steps to open a tourism company in Dubai
With the help of the expert team at Worldwide Formations, you can start your tourism company in the UAE in just five simple steps.
Step 1: Outlining your business activities
The first step before starting your license application is to clearly define the types of business activities you wish to undertake. There are plenty to choose from in the tourism sector. You could be a tour operator, travel agent, rental company, consultant and much more.
In any case, you’ll need to list these activities on your application to ensure that you are correctly licensed.
Step 2: Choose your company name
Next, you’ll need to choose an appropriate company name. As well as catching attention and capturing the tone of your business, you’ll also need to keep in line with the UAE’s corporate naming conventions.
For example, your business name cannot be the same as one used by an existing business in the UAE. In addition, it should not contain any blasphemous or offensive language or have any religious connotations.
Step 3: Apply for your tourism license
With early admin taken care of, you can now apply for your Dubai tourism license.
This process will differ slightly depending on whether you are setting up in a free zone or on the mainland. But whatever the case, Worldwide Formations can manage every step of the application for you, liaising with all relevant depending on your chosen jurisdiction.
As well as your trade license, you’ll all need to apply to the Department of Economy and Tourism for approval to start trading.
Step 4: Applying for visas
As well as your tourism license and approvals, you’ll also need a UAE visa to live and work out here. This application involves a medical examination, blood test and biometric scanning for your Emirates ID.
At this stage, you can also sponsor the visas of your dependants such as your family or employees. Once again, Worldwide Formations can guide you through this process.
Step 5: Open a corporate bank account
You will need a corporate bank account to trade freely in the UAE. Worldwide Formations will work with you at this stage to determine the bank most suited to your needs.
Cost of opening a tourism company
The cost of opening your tourism company will depend on the nature of your activities, the size and location of your business, and other factors.
A Dubai tourism license costs in the region of AED 15,000 to AED 35,000. On top of this, you’ll need to consider the cost of visas, staff, premises and any additional approvals required to trade.
For a full, personalised breakdown of the costs involved in opening a tourism business in Dubai, get in touch with the team at Worldwide Formations.
Activities permitted with a tourism license in Dubai
The activities available under the Dubai tourism license will differ slightly depending on whether you are applying to be a travel agent or inbound/outbound tour operator. However, in most cases, you will be permitted to provide the following services:
- Issue travel insurance
- Organise local tours
- Plan and sell tour packages
- Provide accommodation
- Provide car rental services
- Provide visa-related services
- Sell flight, railway, bus and other transport tickets
- Build and sell tourism packages
How Worldwide formations can help
With visitor numbers high and increasing, this is a great time to start a tourism company in the UAE. And, as the experts in all things relating to business setup in Dubai, Worldwide Formations is on hand to ensure a smooth and simple process.
Our turnkey solutions are designed to help you launch and grow your business here in the UAE. For more information and a personalised quote, please visit Worldwide Formations.