Tourism is one of Dubai’s most thriving industries. A record 16.7m tourists visited our shores in 2019, fast approaching the emirate’s goal of 20m visitors per year.
Of course, the events of 2020 set these aims back somewhat. But with vaccine rollouts in full swing and lockdowns easing around the world, Dubai’s travel and tourism industry is very much open for business.
Such is the strength of the sector that it is expected to contribute more than AED 280bn to the UAE economy by 2028.
For the entrepreneurs and businesses within the industry, such a vast market presents a huge opportunity. And whether you’re looking to become a tour guide, run a hotel or attraction, work as a travel agent, or operate any other travel-related business, getting set up can be fast and straightforward.
When you start your travel business with Worldwide Formations, we can guide you through the entire process, incorporating your company and assisting with the visa process.
How to open a travel & tourism company in the UAE
So, you’re wondering, how to start travel agency business. The first step is to decide where you wish to set up.
You have two options here – a free zone or the UAE mainland. When trading in the mainland, you are free to set up anywhere and can take on government work. When you do business from a free zone, you will benefit from a 100% customs tax exemption, zero currency restrictions and the ability to repatriate all capital and profits to your home country.
Having made this decision, you can now choose your company name. This step is a little more complicated, in particular here in Dubai than in other parts of the world. That’s because as well as the need for a name that’s catchy and captures the essence of your business, you’ll also need to stick to the UAE’s clearly defined naming conventions.
In short, UAE company names must not contain any blasphemous or offensive language, any references to well-known institutions or any abbreviations of your name – though your full name is acceptable.
Your name should also have a legal entity attached to it such as FZE or LLC. It must also relate to your business activity, not resemble the name of any other company and be available to register. When you work with Worldwide Formations, we can register your trade name on your behalf.
Once we have guided you through this early administration, you can now apply for your trade license for travel agency or any other tourism-related business.
How to apply for a travel agency license in Dubai
The license application process is different depending on where you choose to set up.
If you’re setting up in the mainland, you can make your license application directly to the Department of Economic Development (DED). If you’ve chosen a mainland setup, you should apply directly to the managing authority of your chosen free zone.
In both cases, Worldwide Formations can manage this process for you, and liaise with authorities and government departments on your behalf.
What documents are required to start a travel agency business in Dubai, UAE
Whether you are setting up a travel agency or any other travel-related business, you will be required to submit several documents along with your application form. This may include:
- A copy of your passport
- Several passport photos
- Proof of relevant experience or qualifications
- A No Objection Certificate from your current employer (if applicable)
Applying for a UAE visa
Finally, if you are running any kind of business in Dubai, you will need a residency visa. We can assist with this process too.
There are four stages involved, including a medical fitness test and biometric capturing. In all, it usually takes less than a week.
As the holder of a UAE trade license, you can also sponsor others such as your children, a spouse or domestic staff for their visas too, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.
While applying for a visa in Dubai is not overly complicated, it’s important to note that even the tiniest error in your application can lead to rejection, which is likely to delay your company formation schedule. So, once again, it’s a good idea to work with our expert team who can guide you through the process.
What is the cost of a travel agency license?
The cost of your travel agency license will depend on numerous factors, such as the size of your business, whether you set up in the mainland or a free zone, and the type of travel-related activities that you undertake.
In most cases, the most cost-effective route is to set up in a free zone. In this instance, for a trade license package, inclusive of the cost of at least one visa, you can expect to pay in the region of AED 15,000 to 25,000.
Start your travel and tourism business in the UAE with Worldwide Formations
When starting a travel business in Dubai, getting the right guidance beforehand is key. That’s why it’s always advisable to undertake the steps with the assistance of a registered company formations agent to eliminate any potential hassles that might arise.
With more than 15 years of experience in company incorporation, and trusted by over 10,000 clients around the world, Worldwide Formations can help you get your business up and running within a matter of weeks.
We are authorised to incorporate companies in all major free zone jurisdictions, and across the UAE mainland. And we can manage the entire company formation process on your behalf and correspond with all relevant authorities for you. All you need to do is wait for the green light to start doing business.
But our service doesn’t end there. We also offer a range of value-added services to facilitate all primary transitions and establishment processes. And we provide trustworthy bank account opening assistance, VAT registration, re-instatement, and renewal services.
So, if you’re running a business in the UAE, or planning to start one, it always pays to talk to Worldwide Formations.