How to Start Travel Agency in Dubai, UAE: 2024 Guide

  • Passport copies of all partners
  • Ejari certificate
  • Memorandum of Association (particularly for LLCs)
  • Initial approval certificate
  • Name reservation certificate

Steps to Start Travel Agency in Dubai

  1. Choose Your Business Jurisdiction

    In Dubai, you have the choice of setting up as a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each structure has its perks and limitations. For instance, an LLC can offer you the benefit of limited liability, whereas a Sole Proprietorship gives you full control but also full responsibility.

  2. Reserve a Name and Get Initial Approval

    Your agency’s name is its first impression. Select a name that’s not only unique but reflects the essence of your travel services. Dubai’s Economy and Tourism (DET) is quite efficient, generally processing initial approvals within a day depending on nationalities.

  3. Apply for a Travel Agency License

    The Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) are your next stop to securing a travel agency license. Do you want to focus more on inbound tours, or are outbound services also in your plan? Choose accordingly, as each has its requirements and benefits.

  4. Secure an Office Space

    A compliant office space (minimum 40 sqm) and a qualified manager are DET requirements. Your choice of location could be a make-or-break factor in the success of your agency.

  5. Registered Your Business License

    After obtaining your business license, to get an employee, partner, or investor visa in Dubai, you must register with the labor department (MOHRE) and immigration department.

  6. Apply for Employees’ Visa

    It is important that you arrange your employees’ visas before hiring them. Apply at least thirty days in advance of your employees’ arrival, so they will already have a visitation visa in place.

  7. Open a Corporate Bank Account

    When a company gets established, a corporate account is required. Registering with the bank is the final step to starting a travel agency in Dubai.

1. What are the initial steps to start travel agency in Dubai?

Start by developing a well-researched business plan that includes your business goals, target market, and financial projections. Next, decide on the type of travel agency you want to establish (online, storefront, or both). Finally, register your business with the Dubai’s Economy and Tourism (DET) in Dubai.

2. Do I need a specific license to operate a travel agency in Dubai?

Yes, you must acquire a Travel Agency License from the Dubai’s Economy and Tourism (DET) in Dubai. This license allows you to sell travel-related services, issue travel insurance, and handle travel documentation for your clients.

3. What are the financial requirements to start a travel agency in Dubai?

Initial capital requirements can vary based on the scale of your operation. You need to budget for licensing fees, office leasing, equipment, staff salaries, and marketing. Ensure you have adequate funding to cover these expenses until your business becomes profitable.

4. Can a foreigner start a travel agency in Dubai?

Yes, foreigners can start a travel agency in Dubai with full ownership. But you must comply with all regulatory requirements set by the DET and DCAA.

5. What is the best location to set up a travel agency in Dubai?

Choosing a location with high foot traffic such as malls or popular tourist spots can be beneficial. Alternatively, a well-connected area with easy access to transportation and hotels is also a smart choice. Locations like Downtown Dubai, JBR, or Business Bay are often popular.

6. What travel services are most in-demand in Dubai?

The most in-demand services include luxury travel packages, desert safaris, cultural tours, adventure sports tourism, and business travel management. Offering tailored experiences such as personalized itineraries can also set your agency apart.

7. Are there legal considerations I should be aware of when starting a travel agency in Dubai?

Yes, you need to be aware of Dubai’s business laws, consumer protection laws, and tourism-specific regulations. It’s advisable to consult with a legal expert who specializes in UAE business law to ensure compliance and prevent legal issues.

8. What kind of insurance do I need to operate a travel agency in Dubai?

At a minimum, you should consider general liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance to protect against potential claims of negligence or harm. Offering travel insurance to your clients can also be an additional service that might protect and attract more clients.

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