How to Open a Travel Agency in Dubai, UAE – In Just 4 Easy Steps


Dubai, often hailed as the jewel of the Middle East, magnetizes between 10 to 20 million tourists annually. As the region’s commercial epicenter, the city offers a fertile landscape for entrepreneurial ventures, making it an ideal locale for launching a travel agency. 

The tourism sector in Dubai is on an upward trajectory, marking it as one of the most promising industries for business establishment. This growth not only captivates tourists but also lures investors who are keen on capitalizing on sectors with high growth potential. 

Dubai, a hub of entrepreneurial activity, offers a fertile ground for establishing a travel agency. This city, a magnet for investors worldwide, presents a lucrative opportunity for both local residents and expatriates keen on venturing into the travel business. However, before embarking on this journey, it’s crucial to consider several aspects. These include deciding the specific type of travel agency you wish to establish, understanding the financial requirements, and familiarizing yourself with the necessary legal and regulatory prerequisites.

In light of the travel and tourism sector’s significant contribution to the UAE’s economy, which is expected to reach $49 billion this year according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) as mentioned in The National News (source), starting a travel agency in Dubai is particularly promising.

If you’re keenly interested in unraveling the steps on how to open a travel agency in Dubai, then read on to discover the pathway to your entrepreneurial dream. 

Activities and Responsibilities of a Travel Agency in Dubai

Travel agencies in Dubai, comprising skilled travel agents, are responsible for organizing various tours and events, both inbound and outbound. They also manage visa procedures for international visitors and are required to have appropriate insurance policies. Their role extends to ensuring all travel-related activities are seamlessly conducted.

Why Open A Travel Agency in Dubai?

Strategic Location

Dubai’s geographical location serves as a significant advantage for travel agencies. Situated at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Dubai International Airport (DXB) is one of the busiest airports globally, handling over 89 million passengers in 2019. This strategic location makes Dubai a global transit hub, attracting tourists and business travelers alike. For entrepreneurs considering how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE, this global footfall presents a lucrative opportunity to tap into a diverse and expansive market. 

Global Attraction 

Dubai is not just a city; it’s a global brand in tourism. With iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Mall, the city attracted 16.73 million international overnight visitors in 2019, according to data from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). This diverse range of attractions allows travel agencies to offer specialized packages, from luxury getaways to adventure tours, further emphasizing the business potential for those exploring how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE

Government Support

The Dubai government’s commitment to boosting tourism is evident in its strategic initiatives. The Dubai Tourism Strategy 2020 aims to attract 20 million annual visitors, almost doubling the numbers from a decade ago. To facilitate this growth, the government offers multiple types of travel agency licenses through the DTCM, each designed to cater to different business models. This streamlined approach simplifies the administrative process, making it easier for entrepreneurs to understand how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. 

Moreover, the government provides financial incentives, including tax exemptions for qualified freezone persons and reduced licensing fees, particularly for businesses operating in Free Zones like Dubai World Central and Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT). These incentives are designed to lower the barriers to entry and offer long-term operational benefits. 

Other Advantages of Opening a Travel Agency in Dubai

Dubai, aspiring to be the world’s premier tourist destination, offers immense potential for travel agencies. Key benefits include:

  • Contributing to the UAE’s GDP: The tourism sector accounts for about 10% of the UAE’s GDP, receiving significant government attention. The industry is expected to grow by approximately 3% annually.
  • Iconic Destinations: Dubai is home to landmarks like Palm Deira and Palm Jabel Ali, and ongoing projects like Dubai World, attracting tourists worldwide.
  • Tax-Free Luxury: The UAE’s tax-free status enhances its appeal as a luxury destination. Tourists like to enjoy the beauty and luxury that Dubai has to offer without paying a dime in tax.

Requirements for Starting a Travel Agency in Dubai

To establish a travel agency in Dubai, the following are essential:

  • A detailed business plan
  • A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority
  • A police good conduct certificate
  • Compliance with the aforementioned financial and regulatory requirements

Embarking on a travel agency venture in Dubai requires careful planning and adherence to the region’s specific legal and financial frameworks. With the right approach, it can

Steps on How to Open a Travel Agency in Dubai, UAE  

The first step in your journey on how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE, is deciding the type of business structure that best suits your needs. Dubai offers various options, including Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each structure has its own set of regulations and benefits. Understanding the nuances of these structures is crucial for long-term success. 

Decide the Business Structure 

Once you’ve decided on the business structure, the next step is to reserve a name for your travel agency and obtain initial approval from the Department of Economic Development (DET). This name should be unique and reflective of the services you intend to offer. The DED usually processes name reservation and initial approval within a day, streamlining your journey on how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. 

Documentation is a critical aspect of setting up any business. For a travel agency in Dubai, you’ll need to provide: 

  • Passport copies of all the partners 
  • Business plan 
  • Memorandum of Association (MoA), particularly if you’re setting up an LLC 
  • Initial approval certificate 
  • Name reservation certificate 

These documents are to be submitted to the DET and other relevant authorities, including the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

License Application 

After gathering all the required documents, the next step is to apply for a travel agency license from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DET). There are different types of licenses, such as Inbound Tour Operator, Outbound Tour Operator, and Travel Agent License. The choice depends on the nature of your business activities. The license typically gets approved within a week, bringing you one step closer to realizing how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE

Office Space and Staffing 

Finally, you’ll need to secure an office space that complies with the DET regulations. The office should be at least 40 square meters in size and equipped with necessary facilities. Additionally, you’ll need to hire a manager with a relevant educational background and experience in the travel industry to oversee operations. 

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to understanding how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. Each phase is crucial and requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure that your business not only complies with local laws but also stands out in a competitive market. 

Types of Travel Agency Licenses in Dubai, UAE 

Travel Company License 

A Travel Company License is the most comprehensive license type, allowing you to offer a wide range of services including ticketing, hotel booking, and transportation. This license is often the go-to choice for entrepreneurs who aim to provide an all-encompassing travel experience. Obtaining this license involves a straightforward process with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DET), making it a popular choice for those exploring how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. 

Inbound Travel Operator License 

If your business focus is on attracting tourists to Dubai and offering them local experiences, the Inbound Travel Operator License is the ideal choice. This license permits you to organize local tours, safaris, and cultural experiences, among other services. Given Dubai’s status as a global tourist hub, this license type offers a lucrative opportunity to tap into a growing market of tourists interested in local experiences. It’s a strategic option for those keen on understanding how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE, with a local focus. 

Outbound Travel Operator License 

For agencies aiming to specialize in sending residents or tourists from Dubai to international destinations, the Outbound Travel Operator License is the most suitable. This license allows you to organize and sell international tour packages, including flights, accommodation, and activities. With Dubai’s diverse population and high demand for travel, this license type offers a unique business opportunity. It’s an excellent fit for entrepreneurs who are researching how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE, with a global reach. 

Selecting the right type of travel agency license is a critical decision that will shape your business activities and growth potential. Each license type comes with its own set of regulations, requirements, and opportunities. Therefore, understanding the nuances of these licenses is crucial for anyone looking into how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. 

Cost to Open a Travel Agency in Dubai, UAE 

The cost of acquiring a travel agency license in Dubai is influenced by various factors such as the size of the company, its activities, and the number of owners. Eligibility for setting up a business in Dubai also includes visa qualifications. Typically, the cost for a travel agency license starts from around AED 35,000.

Breakdown of Travel Agency License Costs

  • Initial Approval Fees: AED 120 – 220
  • Trade Name Reservation Fees: AED 620 – 720
  • Tasheel Fees for Initial Approval: AED 345 – 440
  • Estimated License Cost with Foreign Trade Name: Approximately AED 13,000 – 14,000
  • Approval from Dubai Tourism Authority Fees: Included in the license fee
  • Estimated Dubai Civil Aviation Approval Fees: AED 6,520 (if required)
  • Company Immigration Card Fees: AED 750
  • Public Liability Insurance (Indemnity Insurance) Coverage: 1-2M AED (costing AED 2,000 – 3,000)

Note: Office premises are an additional requirement.

These figures represent the cost of obtaining a travel agency business license excluding the Investor Visa. For comprehensive details on the total costs and fees associated with obtaining a travel agency license in Dubai, Adam Global consultants can provide further guidance.

Understanding the financial requirements is a critical aspect of how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. From initial deposits and fees to ongoing operational costs, each financial element plays a vital role in the sustainability and growth of your business. Proper budgeting and financial planning are essential for navigating the competitive landscape successfully. 

Benefits And Scope of Opening Travel Agency in Dubai 

Dubai, a global tourism hub, offers a fertile ground for travel agencies. The city welcomed approximately 16.73 million tourists in 2019, and the numbers are expected to rise, especially with events like Expo 2020. Travel agencies play a pivotal role in boosting this tourism landscape, offering a plethora of services that enhance the tourist experience. 

Aspect Benefit or Scope Relevance to Opening a Travel Agency in Dubai, UAE 
Tourism Growth Rapidly growing tourism sector with millions of annual visitors. High demand for travel agency services. 
Government Support Various grants, incentives, and simplified procedures for startups. Easier setup and operational benefits. 
Strategic Location Proximity to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Attracts a diverse clientele. 
Economic Stability Strong economy and political stability. Lower business risks. 
Technological Advancements State-of-the-art infrastructure and tech-savvy population. Easier adoption of modern business models. 
Cultural Diversity A melting pot of cultures and a wide range of tourist attractions. More extensive range of services can be offered. 
Free Zones 100% ownership, and other incentives. Financial advantages and full control of the business. 

Dubai is a global tourist destination, attracting over 17 million visitors in 2022. This makes it an ideal location to open a travel agency. There are many benefits and opportunities for travel agencies in Dubai, including: 

  • Strong tourism growth: Dubai’s tourism industry is growing rapidly, with the number of visitors expected to double by 2030. This presents a huge opportunity for travel agencies to capitalize on this growth. 
  • Diverse range of attractions: Dubai offers a wide range of attractions for tourists, including world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions. This makes it easy for travel agencies to create tailored packages for different types of travelers. 
  • Favorable business environment: Dubai has a pro-business environment, with easy access to capital. This makes it a relatively easy and affordable place to start a travel agency. 
  • International exposure: Dubai is a global city with a diverse population. This gives travel agencies in Dubai the opportunity to serve both domestic and international clients. 

In addition to the above benefits, there are also several specific opportunities for travel agencies in Dubai. For example, the city is home to several major airlines and hotel chains, which can provide travel agencies with access to discounted rates and other benefits. Dubai is also a popular destination for conferences and exhibitions, which can provide travel agencies with additional opportunities to generate revenue. 


Opening a travel agency in Dubai, UAE, presents a lucrative opportunity, given the city’s booming tourism sector and favourable business environment. From understanding the legal landscape to navigating financial requirements, each step is crucial for establishing a successful enterprise. While the benefits are numerous, especially if you opt for a Free Zone setup, it’s essential to be aware of the limitations and regulatory constraints. 

How Adam Global Can Help 

Adam Global stands as a one-stop solution for entrepreneurs aiming to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE. Our comprehensive range of services includes: 

  • Business Advisory Services: Expert guidance on selecting the right business structure and navigating local regulations. 
  • HR and Recruitment Services: Support in recruiting qualified staff, including managerial roles mandated by regulatory bodies. 
  • International Expansion Support: Assistance in scaling your travel agency beyond Dubai, complete with market entry strategies and legal compliance. 

By leveraging Adam Global’s extensive suite of services, you can navigate the complexities of how to open a travel agency in Dubai, UAE, with ease and confidence.


What are the legal requirements for opening a travel agency in Dubai?

The legal requirements include obtaining a travel agency license from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), appointing a qualified manager with relevant experience.

How much does it cost to open a travel agency in Dubai?

The costs can vary but generally include an annual insurance premium starting from the range of 5000 and above depending upon the plan and activities in the license. license issuance fees, and other administrative charges. Ongoing operational costs such as office rent, staff salaries, and utilities must also be considered.

What are the benefits of operating a travel agency in Dubai’s Free Zones?

Some of the key benefits include 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions to qualified freezone persons, and simplified administrative procedures. However, there are limitations such as geographical restrictions on business activities.

What types of travel agency licenses are available in Dubai?

There are three main types of travel agency licenses: Travel Company License, Inbound Travel Operator License, and Outbound Travel Operator License. Each has its own set of requirements and permitted activities.

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