Dubai attracts millions of visitors annually and no wonder the city’s tourism sector adds up to 5.4% of the UAE’s GDP. Hence, starting a travel agency in Dubai is a viable idea. As a vibrant city of culture and ethnicity, Dubai is the tourism hub in the UAE. Apart from the attractive skyline and architectural wonders of the city, Dubai’s government favours new startups and existing businesses with its business-friendly policies and prominent infrastructure.

Things to Consider Before You Start a Travel Agency

Your Capital:

You will need to make sure that you have enough capital for setup costs, license charges, and initial operational costs of your business.

Business Location:

Despite Dubai’s strategic location and business-friendly environment, choosing the right location for your business is essential due to the benefits and restrictions of various zones. Dubai free zones like Meydan Free Zone, RAKEZ Free Zone, IFZA Free Zone, and Dubai Mainland are the different kinds of locations to establish your business in Dubai.

License Type:

The activity and type of your travel agency determine the required trade licenses in Dubai.

Business Structure:

Dubai allows numerous legal forms for company establishment, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Sole Proprietorship, etc. This helps you streamline your establishment process.

Requirements for Opening a Travel Agency in Dubai

A Business Plan:

A detailed document containing information regarding your business startegy like your objectives, strategies, financial estimations, market research, and future operational procedures. 

Code Of Conduct Certificate:

Obtain this clearance certificate from the police department.

No Objection Certificate:

You need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Documents Required to Open a Travel Agency in Dubai

  1. Lease agreement for an office
  2. Contract of appointment for travel agents
  3. Indemnity Insurance
  4. Copy of the investors’ passports and their residency or visitation visas.
  5. Options for the company’s trade name
  6. Managerial degree certificate

What is a Tourism License in Dubai

You can lawfully conduct tourism-related business inside the United Arab Emirates with a tourist license. Businesses in the UAE are also eligible for several government perks, such as tax exemption and complete repatriation, through the use of a tourism license.

Four categories of licenses exist in Dubai:

  • Travel agency license as a travel agent
  • Inbound tourism license 
  • Outbound tourism license
  • Travel company license

How to Get a Tourism License in Dubai

The process to obtain a tourism license in Dubai mainland is as follows:

Choose your business activity:

A business activity decides what sort of tourism business you will operate, your type of license, and your business structure. There are a variety of business activities you can choose from.

Decide on your business structure:

You get to decide the legal structure of your business, this can be a Limited Liability Company or a Sole Proprietorship. Each has its own requirements, benefits, and restrictions. You will have to research and choose what suits you the best.

Name your company:

You should select a minimum of three names for your company that abide by the rules of the respective authorities. Your business name should not have offensive language, cannot be similar to other organisations or brands, cannot contain religious names, etc. Once you submit this to the DED, they will select and approve the relevant trade name for your business.


Get the documents required ready and in place to ensure a seamless procedure, once you have filled the application and submit to the relevant authorities.

Apply for a tourism license:

Apply for a relevant tourism license with the DED. You can either do this online or in person. You will need to get signatures from all your partners to apply.

Initial approval:

Get the initial approval from DED. Once you have received the initial approval, DED will provide you with a form for the site inspection. Fill out and wait for the inspection procedure to pass.

Memorandum of Association:

Based on your company structure, you will be required to prepare the Memorandum Of Association  (MOA) or the Local Service Agent (LSA) to incorporate your company in Dubai.

Other approvals:

To obtain your tourism licence, you will need the external approval from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Obtain the trade license:

Once all the documents are approved and the procedures have been bypassed, you will be issued your trade license in Dubai. You will be all set to establish your business.

Apply for your employee visas:

Within 30 days of entry of the employee (applicable if the employee is coming from abroad), you should apply for their visa. Your number of visas is also affected by your rented office space. So keep this in mind while renting a space.h3>Open a corporate bank account:

Once you have your trade license, you will be able to open your corporate bank account. This helps you gather financial audits, corporate payments, etc.

Benefits of Starting a Travel Agency in Dubai

  1. Tax-friendly environment
  2. Different areas/ zones to choose from
  3. Top tourist attraction
  4. Strategic location
  5. Tourism is a continuously growing industry

Cost of Setting Up a Business in Dubai

Actual expenses differ based on several variables such as the company’s size, business location, tourism license, and services provided. It is crucial to conduct due diligence and ensure that you are ready for the costs and challenges that come with opening a travel agency in Dubai.