How to set up a travel agency in Dubai

UAE is one of the most sought after tourist and business destinations in the world. Its high rise buildings, amazing sights, and numerous shopping experiences attract people from all over the globe. To cater to the large number of tourists that flood the country every year there is a need for tourist business such as travel agencies. Moreover, the country is home to favourable economic and financial policies that attract even more people for work. A travel agency business set up in Dubai has a lot of scope.


Types of travel agencies in UAE

If you’re looking for a travel agency company formation in the UAE, it is best to know beforehand the type of travel agencies in the UAE and where to set up the company.

  • Selling plane tickets – This is the most common type of travel company set up in Dubai and handles the buying and scheduling of your trip to the UAE. From flight dates to costs and timings the travel agency will handle the entire process for you.
  • Providing accommodations – some travel agencies assist tourists in finding the right accommodations for their trip and arranging the payment process
  • Handling visas – Travel agencies also assist individuals who are looking to go to the UAE in the visa process
  • Travel insurance – when travelling to a foreign country as a tourist or for work, it is important to be protected. Travel agencies in the UAE will also provide insurance services for your trip.
  • Tourist packages – may travel agencies also offer tourist packages along with managing tickets and accommodations.


Steps to set up a travel agency

1. Determine the location and business structure

There are many great locations for travel and tourism business set up in Dubai. Dubai Mainland is a central location with easy connectivity making it ideal for company set up. Many free zones can also act as a good location such as Fujairah creative city. UAE offers many legal structures for company formation in the UAE. Free zones have the option of opening a free zone company or free zone establishment, while for a mainland you can open a limited liability company, branch office or sole proprietorship.


2. Choose a trade name

Choosing a trade name for your company is the second step for a company set up in the UAE. Trade names must follow the restrictions set forth by the government department of economic development which include

  • The name of the company should not violate the public morals of the country
  • The trade name should have the legal form of the company at the end for example (LLC)
  • The name should not be previously registered by a company
  • The name should be in line with the type of activity and legal status
  • The trade name should not contain any names that have religious significance, or are of governing or external bodies

3. Apply for initial approval

After the trade name has been approved the company must apply for initial approval. This is obtained from DED or the respective free zone authority. To obtain the initial approval, certain documents including the passport copies, no objection letter, and business plan among others must be submitted.


4. Submit license application

After receiving the initial approval, the next step for business set up in Dubai is to submit the license application. For a travel agency, the company must apply for a tourism license. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) works alongside DED to provide the license. The three general types of tourism license include, trade license for an outbound tour operator, trade license for an inbound tour operator, and trade license for a travel agency. The application for the license requires certain documents and a license fee. The cost for setting up a travel agency depends on many factors including the company size and legal structures. But the general cost of a travel agency license is approximately AED 20,000 for a single owner.

The documents for the license include

  • Initial approval
  • Attested memorandum of association
  • Approvals from relevant government entities
  • Business plan (if needed)

5. Choose an office

The last step for company formation in the UAE is to choose an office space. For free zone companies there exist multiple office solutions provided by the free zone authority that cater to companies of all sizes, ranging from serviced desks for 2 people to entire offices for larger teams. Mainland companies can either rent or buy an office in any of the business districts in UAE.


LegalWorks provides a team of experienced and well trained business consultants who can handle the entire process of company set up in Dubai.

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