Gone are the days when Dubai was purely an oil-based economy. Today, Dubai has reinvented itself with mega projects and architectural masterpieces like Burj khalifa and Palm Jumerah. Globetrotters are flocking to Dubai not just to spend serious money on shopping but also to experience luxury travel.
The Travel & Tourism industry of Dubai directly contributes 20% to Dubai’s GDP and 6% to total employment. Today, Dubai is one of the Top 10 tourism destinations in the world and attracts business and luxury travelers alike.
Needless to say, Dubai Tourism is the mainstay of the UAE government to keep the foreign cash flowing in. With upcoming innovative projects like Bluewaters Island, Alladin City and Dubai Creek Harbor, starting a travel agency business to capitalize on the opportunity makes absolute sense.
Tourism in Dubai is broadly classified as
- Organization of conventions and trade shows (Licensed by Department of Economic Development)
- Travel agency, and tour operators(Licensed by Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing)
Registration and Licenses:
To begin, you must ascertain the kind of license you need to start the travel agency business in Dubai.
They are largely of two types:
Inbound and outbound tourism operation:
This is mandatory if you want to arrange outbound tourist trips, tours within UAE and other activities like sight-seeing and international exhibitions.
The following documents must be submitted to Dubai department of tourism and commerce marketing.
- Duly filled application form
- Copy of valid foreign passport of the applicants
- Certificate of professional qualification of the applicant
- Technical feasibility report of the project
- Certificate of good conduct of the owner of the proposed company
- Processing fee: Applicant must also submit 100,000 dirhams to the Dubai department of tourism and commerce marketing.
Travel agency business
A travel agent assists tourism operators in operational aspects like providing visa support, guided tours, accommodation and transportation handling.
Document checklist for licensing
- Approval fee
- Mandatory insurance policies to cover all activities
- Lease contract (must be at least of 3 months duration) of the office location .Office must have 30 meters space for each activity.
- Clearance certificate from Dubai police
- Relevant work experience certificates
- Request approval of agency’s trade name
In addition to above documentation, business owners must be cognizant of other factors involved.
- Start-up funds: When you are trying to raise funds though lending institution, it is important to find a bank which best suits your need.
- Business case complete with cost –benefit analysis. Your business case must factor in the rapidly advancing Dubai economic environment, manpower and infrastructure costs.
- Services bouquet: You must know the travel area that you want to focus on, like family travel, corporate tours, adventure travel.
- Knowledge of Local Governmental policies on Tours and travel business set up. It is important to understand Dubai’s commercial laws before you get started.
- Insurance of all business activities to stay protected from unforeseen risks.
- Subject matter: Knowledge on booking of airline & cruise tickets and hotel rooms is a must. Other ad-hoc requirements like visa arrangements, transportation or any guest-specific requirements like food or medical etc.
- Building a network in the Dubai tourism market for business to flourish.
- Engaging with clients: Have a robust online presence for your global clientele by building a website, introduce social media strategy and promote your brand actively.
Most travel companies set up in Dubai are Limited liability companies. This means that foreign citizens can own upto 49% of shares, while 51% must be brought up a local sponsor.
Tours and travel business is booming in Dubai and a business set up in Dubai is a promising opportunity.
Owing to numerous formalities of registration process with the tourism department, business set-up may not always be hassle-free and seamless.
It is advised to seek expertise of the business consultant-Commitbiz who is well versed with registration & licensing procedures, as well as ground-level nuances in travel business setup.
At Commitbiz, we have rightly earned our reputation as quality business consultants in UAE by enabling numerous business owners to establish their dream companies.
Write to us at info@commitbiz for more details.