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How to start a Travel and Tourism company in the UAE?

The UAE travel and tourism industry is going from strength to strength. Pre-pandemic, Dubai alone attracted almost 17 million visitors per year with tourist spending reaching over AED 143bn.

As the country continues with its rapid recovery, these figures are set to soar once again. By 2028, it is estimated that the travel and tourism industry will contribute approximately AED 280bn to the UEA’s economy.

Of course, this presents an incredible opportunity for any entrepreneurs with the skills to make a mark in this growing sector. If that’s you, keep reading to find out:

• An overview of the tourism industry in Dubai, UAE
• Steps to start a travel and tourism company in Dubai, UAE
• Documents required to open a travel or tourism company in the UAE
• Cost of starting a travel business in Dubai
• How Creative Zone can help

An overview of the tourism industry in Dubai, UAE

With millions of visitors flocking to its shores every year, Dubai is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It is unsurprising, then, that travel and tourism is one of the biggest and most thriving sectors in the emirate. By 2026, Dubai’s direct tourism contribution is forecast at approximately USD 20.9bn.

Further investment into the country’s infrastructure as well as continued construction of private hotels and resorts is set to drive yet more tourists to the emirate. So too will the continued work of the Dubai Tourism Strategy 2020, designed to attract 20 million visitors per year and make Dubai the first choice for international travellers.

This puts a vast audience of potential customers before the UAE’s travel agencies and tour operators.

Steps to start a travel and tourism company in Dubai, UAE

Before taking the first steps to applying for your travel and tourism licence in Dubai, you’ll first want to seek the advice of a local expert such as Creative Zone. After a short consultation to understand the needs of your business, we can guide you through the following four-step process.

Step 1: Registering your company name

The first step is to choose and register a name for your new company. As part of this process, you will need to adhere to several naming conventions. This means avoiding any words that could be considered offensive or blasphemous. You should also make sure that your chosen name is not similar to any other existing businesses or institutions.

As your name must be unique to your business, it is also best to put forward a few options in case your preferred choice is already taken. Once you have made your decision, we will submit your trade name registration on your behalf.

Step 2: Acquiring a business licence

Once we have helped to choose and register your company name, we will then assist with your travel and tourism licence application. The process here will differ depending on whether you are setting up in the mainland or in a free zone.

Mainland licences are issued by the Department of Economic Development or equivalent municipality. Free zone licences are issued by free zone authorities. In either case, your dedicated contact at Creative Zone will manage the process on your behalf, to ensure a speedy and straightforward application.

Step 3: Completing the visa processes

You will also need a UAE residency visa to live and work in the UAE. While this process is a little more comprehensive than the trade licence application process, with the right support, it is both fast and straightforward. To obtain your visa, you will need to undergo medial and fitness test, a chest X-ray and blood test.

As the holder of a UAE visa, you can sponsor the visas of your dependants, such as children, spouse, parents and domestic staff, too.

Step 4: Opening a bank account

The final step before you can start trading, making and taking payments in the UAE is to open a corporate bank account. This is not always the easiest process for non-GCC citizens, however, the team at Creative Zone can help lighten the load.

After getting to know your requirements, we’ll put you in touch with the banks that are most likely to offer the services you require.

Documents required to open a travel or tourism company in the UAE

You will be required to submit some or all of the following documents when applying for your UAE travel and tourism licence:

    • • Trade name registration


    • • Articles of incorporation (if necessary)


    • • Passport copies for all shareholders


    • Brief descriptions of intended business activities

Cost of starting a travel business in Dubai

A UAE trade licence starts at AED 13,800. However, there are many other costs to consider on top of this. You will also need to account for visa and staff costs as well as fees for any additional trading permits that may be required.

For a full and personalised breakdown of the costs involved, get in touch with the team at Creative Zone.

How Creative Zone can help

The process of business setup in Dubai, UAE, has been tested and honed over decades. For that reason, it is usually fast and straightforward. However, this is only the case when you closely follow the company formation process and ensure that all documents and applications are clear, complete and correct.

To make sure that’s always the case, it pays to partner with the expert team at Creative Zone. We offer a range of solutions designed to help entrepreneurs get up and running in the UAE. Our dedicated team give you fast, reliable and unbiased advice on your specific requirements.

Whether you need support with a mainland, offshore or free zone company setup, or visas and bank account opening, Creative Zone is here to help. So, let us deal with the hassle of registering your company while you focus on your business. Get in touch today to find out more.

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