How to start a tourism company in the UAE

By Afreen Razak Razak AccessTimeIcon

start a tourism company

Home to some of the world’s most jaw-dropping architecture, record-breaking restaurants and beautiful beaches, the UAE is fast becoming a tourism hotspot. It makes a significant contribution to the national economy too, accounting for over 12.1% of its GDP and supporting more than 300,000 jobs directly. If you’re looking to tap into these opportunities, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will explore how to start a tourism company in the UAE and will cover the following topics:

  • Tourism licence UAE – the benefits
  • Steps to getting a UAE tourism licence
  • Documents required to open a tourism company in the UAE
  • Why choose SPC Free Zone?

Tourism licence UAE – the benefits

Like any other business, you need to ensure that you have the right business licence to start a tourism company in the UAE. In this case, you will require a tourism licence. This covers you for activities such as selling tourism packages, selling travel insurance, supporting tourism visa services and selling transportation tickets. The type of tourism licence differs slightly, depending on whether you are an outbound tour operator, inbound tour operator or travel agent. Each licence has specific benefits, such as the advantage of conducting international meetings.

If you are considering starting up a tourism business in the UAE, it’s worth reaching out to a reputable company setup service like SPC Free Zone. Our advisors will be able to help you work out which specific licence applies to your business. We can also help speed up the application process by ensuring you have all the correct paperwork and can jump through all the right legal hoops with ease.

But why start a tourism business in the UAE in the first place?

  • A thriving tourism industry

The UAE is a leading tourism destination in the GCC and wider Arab world. According to recent research, the UAE ranks among the top 25 countries for tourism in the world, too. In 2019, international tourists spent over AED 143.1 billion in the region. That’s a whole wealth of opportunities to tap into. In Sharjah, the number of overnight visitors is rocketing too, with a year-on-year growth of 17%. The Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 aims to attract more than 10 million tourists in the next year, while Dubai aims to become the first choice for business travellers.

  • High quality of life

It’s no secret that the UAE is one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to infrastructure. As a business owner in the UAE, you can benefit from world-class restaurants, shopping malls, buildings and beaches, as well as unrivalled safety, security and affordable healthcare. As one of the most digitally connected regions in the world (more than 93% of the population is online), it’s easy to operate your business globally too.

  • Business-friendly tax incentives

Opening a business in the UAE means you can maximise your profits with one of the most competitive tax regimes in the world. You can enjoy 100% foreign ownership, 0% personal income tax and 0% corporate tax. That’s more money for your business and for a better lifestyle.

  • Easy access to air and sea

The UAE enjoys a strategic location in the heart of the Middle East, with access to markets in Europe, Africa and Asia. It’s also home to one of the busiest airports in the world, Dubai International Airport, and one of the world’s largest seaports, Jabal Ali Port.

Steps to getting a UAE tourism licence

While getting a UAE tourism licence is more straightforward than you might think, the process can easily be delayed if you don’t have the right paperwork in order. We’ve broken it down into three simple steps to give you an idea of what to expect. There’s no need to do it all alone, though. At SPC Free Zone, we can help you navigate each step of the process to ensure you’re up and running in no time.

Step 1: Application submission

First, you will need to submit your application for the licence. This will include details such as your business name and your business activities. Ensure that you are familiar with requirements from a legal perspective. For instance, you will need to choose a name that cannot be considered offensive or blasphemous. You will also need to avoid titles already used by existing organisations. Once you have submitted your application, you can receive your tourism licence in as little as two hours, depending on the free zone.

Step 2: E-channel services authorisation

The UAE has introduced an e-channel service to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and to help speed up business setup in each emirate. This makes it easier for you to apply for your entry permit. Once you’ve received this, you’ll have the right to stay in the region for 60 days.

Step 3: Status change

After you’ve received your entry permit you will need to activate your status change. Depending on your country of citizenship, you can either activate this in the country or by exiting and re-entering the relevant emirate. Then you’ll need to undergo medical tests to acquire your Emirates ID. This card allows you to open bank accounts, to rent properties and take out phone contracts. All business owners are legally required to obtain one.

Documents required to open a tourism company in the UAE

The documents required to open a tourism company in the UAE are:

  • A completed Tourism Licence application form
  • A copy of your passport or the applicant’s passport
  • Two colour passport photographs

You may also need to provide additional paperwork, such as certification of work qualifications, proof of clean criminal records, a No Objection letter, and more. To ensure you have the right documents to hand and speed up the process of setting up your business legally, we recommend working with a company formation specialist. At SPC Free Zone, our knowledgeable business advisors have helped countless other individuals apply for their tourism licences with success. Get in touch to avoid any unnecessary hurdles and additional expenses today.

Why choose SPC Free Zone?

SPC Free Zone is located in the heart of the UAE, just 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport. We offer fast and flexible business setup in the UAE, conveniently located in Sharjah. We also offer immigration services on-site, which means you can get your tourism licence for the UAE issued in less than two hours.

At SPC Free Zone, you can also choose from more than 1,500 business activities, apply for 20 visas under one licence, and apply for a dual-licence option that offers both mainland and free zone on the same licence. What’s more, you can also benefit from competitive incentives, such as zero paid-up share capital, 0% corporate and personal income tax and 100% foreign ownership. Ready to get started? Get in touch with SPC Free Zone to start your tourism company in the UAE.

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