The United Arab Emirates, and Dubai in particular, holds a lot of potential for tourism. In 2019, Dubai witnessed 16.73 million international tourists, up from 15.92 million the previous year. Dubai has more international tourists than Singapore and is in fact, the fourth-most visited city in the world after Bangkok, Paris, and London. Travel restrictions in 2020, caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, caused the numbers to fall, but Dubai still recorded a healthy 5.51 million international tourists during the year.
There is no doubt that Dubai is one of the top destinations in the world for tourism. Apart from tourism, Dubai is also a global hub for events and exhibitions. It is the host city of the Expo 2020, which is expected to see 25 million visits in all by the time it concludes on 31st March 2021. Business visitors and tourists from 175 countries accounted for 411,768 visits during the first ten days. The ease of doing business in Dubai means that business visitors make a beeline for company registration in Dubai and other related purposes.
The Dubai International Airport is the home of Emirates, the largest airline in the world in terms of international passenger kilometres flown. The Dubai International Airport saw 86.4 million passengers in 2019, before coronavirus-induced travel restrictions came into effect in 2020. This officially makes Dubai the third busiest airport in the world after Atlanta and Beijing. The Sharjah International Airport is located about 40 minutes from Dubai. It handles more than 11.99 million passengers and is the home of international airline Air Arabia, which operates flights to 170 destinations worldwide.
All these translate into a lot of opportunities for those in the travel and tourism industry.
Dubai has the highest spend in the world by each tourist at $553 per day. It also has the second-highest number of five-star hotels in the world. There are some 717 hotels in Dubai, including apartment hotels, offering about 118,039 hotel rooms in all. The cost of each room works out to AED 493 per day on average. The fact that a business-class hotel room can be had for rates starting at $25 per day makes Dubai an extremely attractive proposition for international visitors on a budget.
There is also a lot of demand for international flights from Dubai’s 3.38 million residents, many of whom are expatriates. The residents of Dubai also contribute in a major way to domestic tourism. It is no secret that those on a business visit might choose to engage in a bit of sightseeing and tourism, blurring the line between business visitor and tourist. Tourism is a major contributor to the GDP of Dubai – it might surprise you to learn than less than 1% of the GDP is made up by oil revenues.
How to Open a Travel Agency in Dubai
The first step involves deciding what kind of company it will be. You could either set it up as a Sole Establishment (this is the same as a Sole Proprietorship) or a Limited Liability Company. The minimum number of shareholders required for a Limited Liability Company is two and the maximum number permitted is 50. So you need to choose either of these two company structures depending on the number of business owners for the proposed travel agency.
Once you have finalized on a company structure, you need to think of a name for your travel agency. You can indeed have terms like ‘Global’ and ‘International’ as part of the travel agency’s name, but these cannot be the first part of the name of your company. You are also not allowed to have any religious names for your travel agency. Neither are the names of countries permitted. However, nationalities are allowed to be part of the trade name, as are the names of geographical regions around the world.
A business setup consultant can tell you what kind of Business License you need for your travel agency. If it is only into ticketing, you need a Travel Agency License. If you plan to engage in tourism activities as well, you need an Inbound Tourism License for tourism activities in Dubai. If you plan to engage in tourism activities outside Dubai, you would need an Outbound Tourism License. If you are planning to conduct guided tours, your tour guides must be in possession of a Tour Guide License.
A company formation expert can help you out with more of such information. He/She can run a search to see if the trade name you have in mind is available, or whether it has already been registered by another business entity. This minimizes the chances of your application for company registration and a Business License – this is done together – being rejected or returned. He/She will assist you with all the paperwork related to the application, including drawing up the company formation documents.
Steps to Obtain a Travel Agency License in Dubai
- Choose a name for your travel agency, albeit one that will be approved.
- Draw up the company formation documents, allocating shares to each owner.
- Get the company formation documents notarized by a Notary Public.
- Decide on a physical office space for your travel agency.
- Enter into a Tenancy Agreement with the owner of the premises.
- Register the Tenancy Agreement so that it becomes a Tenancy Contract.
- Apply for company registration and a Travel Agency License with Dubai Economy.
- Receive a payment voucher outlining the necessary fees to be paid.
- Make the payment, get company registration & Travel Agency License.
Once you have received your Travel Agency License, you are ready to commence operations. A business setup consultant can help you open a corporate bank account so that you can make and receive payments with ease. Owing to strict anti-money laundering measures, it is not easy to open a corporate bank account in the United Arab Emirates. But with a good business setup consultant in your corner, the process could take as little as two hours instead of the whole day.
Why Choose A&A Associate LLC for Opening a Travel Agency in Dubai?
At A&A Associate LLC, we have years of experience with offshore business setup in Dubai. We are also backed by an exceptionally strong team of in-house legal experts. Our friendly business setup consultants speak multiple languages, and we have been of professional assistance to clients from 100 countries around the world. We have a good client satisfaction rate so far, and the aim is to do even better. For more details, give us a call at +971 56 408 6728 or send us a message using the form below.