How to Set Up a Hospitality Business in the UAE

May 20, 2024
hospitality business in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is experiencing a remarkable surge in tourism, with projections indicating over 17 million visitors in 2024. This growth is driven by the country’s world-class attractions, events, and top-notch infrastructure. As a result, the hospitality sector is booming, marked by a rise in hotel construction and a significant increase in room availability across the nation.

Financially, the industry is thriving, generating AED 32.2 billion (USD 8.8 billion) in the first nine months of 2023—a 27% increase from the same period in 2022. Experts are confident that this upward trend will continue, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. For entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on this opportunity, obtaining a hospitality business license in the UAE is a crucial step. The most efficient way to do this is through SPC Free Zone, with 100% foreign ownership, full repatriation of profits, and exemption from personal income taxes.

These are the business activities you can choose under your hospitality business license:

 7020.17: Hospitality Management Consultancy

The category covers specialized advice and support in the hospitality industry. The services offered by these consulting firms involve the development of marketing objectives, implementing operational efficiency, guidance in revenue management, and overall strategic planning. All these services play a vital role in providing exceptional customer service, among other areas of hospitality management. In the hospitality industry, consultants help establishments such as hotels, resorts, restaurants, and event spaces improve their operations and offer better service to guests.

Hospitality management consultants not only help with operational efficiency and strategic planning, but they also outline strategies that cater to unique problems usually faced by guests. This can involve creating tailored marketing strategies to attract and retain clients, implementing programs to train staff, and deploying innovative technological solutions that can improve operational efficiency.

Hospitality management consultancy assists businesses in keeping up with the dynamic nature of the market by advising them on how to best fulfill the needs of today’s customers.

The following activities are excluded from the business activity mentioned above:

  • Developing software applications for accounting systems
  • Offering legal counsel and advocacy
  • Performing tax consulting, auditing, accounting, or recordkeeping
  • Providing advisory services in structural design, engineering, or other technical fields
  • Implementing promotional initiatives
  • Conducted market research or surveys of public opinion
  • Offering recruitment or executive placement consulting services
  • Providing counseling services associated with education

Third-party Approval: No third-party approval is required for this business activity.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 7020.17 is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 7020.17 is exempt from this requirement.

9000.17: Hospitality Services

This category covers services that cater to and serve the demands of customers in the hospitality industry. Businesses that offer lodging, dining, entertainment, and other services are all part of this sector. This includes hotels, restaurants, resorts, event facilities, and other spaces. To ensure guests have a great experience, there is a strong emphasis on services with the aim of providing convenience and comfort.

Hospitality services, which include everything from opulent resorts to extravagant event spaces, work hard to provide customers with a quintessential experience that leaves lasting memories. The most important features that contribute extensively are hospitality management, customer relations, housekeeping, concierge, facility maintenance, and frost desk support. Management of the hospitality industry, culinary expertise, guest relations, and upkeep of the facilities are all crucial components.

The following activities are excluded from the business activity mentioned above:

  • Restoring stained glass windows
  • Manufacturing statues and other artistic originals
  • Restoration work for:
    • Organs and other historical musical instruments
    • Stained glass windows
    • Historical sites and buildings
    • Furniture (except museum-type restoration)
  • Producing motion pictures and videos
  • Operating cinemas
  • Activities pertaining
    • personal theatrical or artistic agents, or agencies
    • Casting
    • Ticket agencies
    • Sports, amusement, and recreation activities
  • Operation of museums of all kinds
  • Sports and Amusement

Third-party Approval: No third-party approval is required for this business activity.

Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 9000.17 is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 9000.17 is exempt from this requirement


Did you find what you were looking for? Explore the other guides in our Activity Hub for exploring unique business ideas in Dubai and navigate the essentials of business setup with ease.

You can also calculate your business setup costs easily using our handy cost calculator and choose from our customized company setup packages to find your perfect fit.

Get your business license in the UAE today and explore a world of opportunities waiting for you.

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