Dubai has, in the last few decades, transformed itself from being a desert outpost to the ultimate business & tourist destination for people around the world. Dubai is said to be the 4th most visited country in the world, after London, Paris, and Bangkok. In the year 2017, it was estimated that nearly 15.8 million people visited Dubai. This beautiful city of high-rises and shopping malls is famous for many cultural highlights with glamorous add-ons. No wonder so many tourists flock this place for sightseeing, shopping and to have a wonderful time with their families. Not just this, the government is also bringing in new strategies to sustain their presence in the tourism sector. Perhaps that’s the reason that the travel and tourism sector in Dubai is booming at a high pace. And many entrepreneurs and investors are trying to get their hands and leverage on the tourism industry in Dubai.
How to start a tourism company in Dubai?
At the outset, let us assure you that the process is not at all complicated if all the necessary steps for registration are followed. To start a travel and tourism company in Dubai, you need to have a relevant license from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). You can start the tourism business only after you get the appropriate Dubai tourism license for your company. One must spend around Dh100,000-200,000 for a tourism license fee in Dubai. To set up a business in tourism, Dubai provides 3 main types of license namely:
- Travel agency license as an operator of inbound tourism
- Travel agency license as an operator of outbound tourism
- Travel agency license as a travel agent
Each type of license has its own specifications with advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a quick look:
Travel agency license as an operator of inbound tourism
Acquiring this type of license can help a company arrange inbound tours. A company with this license can arrange trips within Dubai, tours for foreigners to attend conference, meeting, and events. Dubai tourism license for inbound tourism involves providing an irrevocable bank guarantee of Dh100,000 in the name of DTCM issued by any bank operating in Emirate. They must also have an insurance policy so that risks are covered in the future during any tourism programs. The validity of the policy shall cover the total term of the license and will finish after 1 month following the license expiry date.
Travel agency license as an operator of outbound tourism
Contrary to inbound tourism, having an outbound tourism license will enable a company to arrange tours in Dubai as well as outside Dubai. Along with it, the company can also arrange conferences, meeting, events, and exhibitions internationally. Similar to an inbound license, acquiring an outbound license will include having an insurance policy to cover uncertainties in the future. The validity of the insurance should cover the total term of the license and will expire after a month following the license expiry date. The security for this type of tourism license fee in Dubai is slightly more than for an inbound license. The company shall provide an irrevocable bank guarantee of Dh200,000 in the name of DTCM issued by any bank operating in the Emirate.
Travel agency license as a travel agent
The third and the final type of license is that of a travel agent. This type of license is for the agents carrying out a sale of air tickets outside the country, providing visa support, tourist accommodation, organizing tours, and other transportation services. Acquiring this type of license also carries the same necessities as the other two, but here the agent must arrange a No Objection Certificate (NOC) on behalf of the Department of Civil Aviation of the Emirate. To get a NOC, a request letter in Arabic must be submitted in the name of the local sponsor. It involves depositing Dh100,000 bank security in the name of DTCM issued by any bank in the Emirate. They should also provide a lease contract and the blueprint of the location where the travel agency will operate.
Documents Required to Obtain a Tourism License in Dubai
- An application form
- Copy of foreign passport of the applicants
- A certificate which approves the qualifications of the manager, i.e., education as well as experience certificate of the manager (3-year experience certificate if he or she holds any bachelor degree, or if he or she has any certificate in Travel and Tourism; 5-year experience certificate if the manager holds only secondary certificate)
- Clean criminal record certificate of the manager and the owner of the company
- NOC issued by the Civil Aviation Authority
- Document attesting a 30 square meter office space needed for each activity
Apart from this, one can also start small and become a tour operator. A tour guide is the one who performs the activities of guiding and accompanying tourists to the various tourist and archaeological sites in the Emirate and providing tourists with information about these sites. For doing so, one must have a valid license. Dubai tour guide license application involves a series of steps to be followed by terms and conditions, as mentioned below.
About the Dubai Tour Guide License
- A tour guide must have a valid Dubai tour guide license badge issued by DTCM.
- To be issued with a tour guide license badge, a person must successfully complete the Tour Guide Award Program developed by DTCM.
- The tour guide license badge is valid for 1 year.
- The Dubai tour guide license renewal is done annually, provided that the tour guide attends the annual refresher course developed by DTCM.
- In case of failure to renew one’s license badge for 2 consecutive years by a tour guide, he/she will be subject to the penalty specified by DTCM.
- A tour guide must wear and prominently display one’s license badge on one’s chest while on duty for easy reference by tourists and DTCM employees.
- A tourist establishment may hire a tour guide only if he/she has a valid tour guide license badge.
Regarded as one of the most vibrant travel hubs in the entire world, Dubai has capabilities like the existence of infrastructure and modern means of technology, communication, and transportation which have helped it succeed in the global tourism map. With the announcement of World Expo 2020, it is expected to attract more than 25 million visitors from October 2020 to April 2021. It will be to an investor’s advantage to grab this golden opportunity and invest in the tourism sector to experience the sweet smell of success. If you need help in getting a tourism license in Dubai, do contact us, even if it’s just for a friendly advice. We aim to please!