A group of professionals gathered around a table, engaged in a discussion about how to set up a travel company in Dubai

How to Setup Travel Company in Dubai?

Table of Contents

Have you dreamed of starting your own travel agency in Dubai? As one of the world’s leading tourism hubs, Dubai attracts over 16 million visitors per year. The travel industry here continues to expand rapidly, making this the perfect time to launch your own travel services business.

Whether you want to offer tour packages, hotel bookings, transportation services, or niche offerings, this guide will walk you through the key steps for successfully setting up a licensed travel company in Dubai.

Understanding Market Dynamics Before Taking the Plunge

Before registering your company, conduct in-depth research to analyze:

  • Size and growth trends of Dubai’s travel market
  • Demand drivers and latest consumer preferences
  • Competitive intensity and existing major players
  • Potential gaps you can fill

This market intelligence will help you:

  • Identify your unique niche
  • Develop targeted offerings
  • Price competitively
  • Formulate penetrating strategies

For instance, if you entered prior to the Dubai Expo 2020, providing specialized Expo travel packages could have tapped the spike in tourism.

Regularly analyze the evolving market dynamics and update your offerings accordingly. This agility is key to sustainable success.

Choosing the Right Business Structure

Carefully evaluate and select the ideal business structure aligned to your goals from:

Mainland Company

  • Set up via Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • Caters largely to local UAE market
  • Relatively straightforward to establish

Free Zone Company

  • Based out of free zones like JAFZA, DIFC
  • Mostly serves overseas clientele
  • Ownership flexibility and tax benefits

Offshore Company

Each structure has specific pros and cons. Seek expert legal and financial advice before deciding.

Licensing and Registration Process

Common steps to set up your travel company include:

Additional approvals may be needed depending on services offered. Stay updated on latest policies and requirements.

Building a Robust Financial Plan

Travel requires heavy capital investments. Meticulously project costs across:

  • Sizeable startup capital
  • Working capital needs
  • Operational overheads (rentals, staffing, software)
  • Cushioning seasonal revenue dips

Develop detailed financial statements projecting profitability right from inception. Seek expert consultancy on accounting, budgeting and funding options.

Structuring Your Team Thoughtfully

Carefully assess staffing needs across functions like:

  • Sales and Business Development
  • Marketing and Partnerships
  • Logistics and Operations
  • Finance and Compliance
  • Customer Service

Recruit those truly passionate about travel with specialized skill sets, not generalists. Invest in rigorous training programs covering company systems, industry best practices and regional policies.

Getting the Technology Right

Deploy well-integrated travel tech solutions encompassing:

  • Central Reservation System (CRS)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Payment Gateways
  • Refund/Rescheduling Modules
  • Accounting Systems

Robust technology architecture enhances productivity, decision making, service quality and revenue streams.

Forging Strategic Alliances

Key partnerships to target include:

  • Hotels and airlines for preferential rates
  • Inbound tour operators to craft specialty packages
  • Local transport/activity providers to bundle deals

Join reputed travel associations to gain global exposure, industry knowledge and marketing opportunities

Building Your Brand

Define and communicate your unique brand identity by:

  • Articulating core values and positioning
  • Ensuring visual consistency across touchpoints
  • Running targeted campaigns highlighting niche strengths

This entrenches brand affinity and retention. Travelers will intrinsically prefer you over other players.

Executing High-Impact Marketing

Promotional initiatives to drive awareness and sales:

  • Search engine optimization to rank high on relevant keywords
  • Social media engagement through compelling visual storytelling
  • Personalized emailers and e-newsletters
  • Tie-ups with banks, schools, offices for special deals
  • Participation in travel exhibitions

Continuously evaluate and optimize marketing ROI. Explore innovative avenues like influencer marketing.

Ensuring Legal and Risk Compliance

Mitigate operational risks by:

  • Staying updated on visa, immigration and data privacy norms
  • Rigorously vetting partner hotels, transport and excursion providers on safety compliance
  • Obtaining adequate insurance coverage
  • Implementing financial compliance protocols for invoicing, taxation, repatriation of funds

Non-compliance can lead to legal issues or damage your reputation.

Planning a High-Impact Launch

Make a splash in the market by:

  • Organizing a formal launch event coupled with press/influencer meets
  • Running tactical digital promotions across website, social media, online travel aggregators

This helps capture attention, stimulate excitement and initiate sales.

Tracking and Tweaking Strategies

Post-launch, continually track KPIs across:

  • Website traffic and conversions
  • Sales and pipeline value
  • Customer satisfaction scores
  • Marketing campaign reach

Analyze data, identify gaps and revamp strategies to boost penetration and market share.


By conducting thorough research, securing licenses strategically, building robust operational capabilities and executing well-planned growth strategies, you can successfully capitalize on Dubai’s thriving tourism. With the right foundations, targeted value proposition and agile execution, the rewards can be tremendous.


What is the total estimated cost for obtaining a travel company license in Dubai?

The total costs can range from AED 100,000 to 300,000 depending on the scale of your activities.

Can I apply for and receive the licenses without having physical office space leased yet?

No, having an actual commercial office space available from the start is a firm requirement from DTCM for travel companies in Dubai. They will verify this before issuing the final tourism license.

What are the mandatory legal documents needed for a travel company licensing?

Passport copies of owners/partners, No-objection letter from sponsors (for mainland companies), Proof of capital (bank statements), Tenancy contract for office space, Draft Memorandum of Association, Application forms for each license.All documents except MOA can be submitted as copies. The MOA and application forms have to be originals.

Can I operate a travel company without having dedicated office space or just use a virtual office address?

No. As per DTCM rules, having a physical office is mandatory for travel agencies and tour operators in Dubai. So you must factor in costs for leasing suitable commercial space right from start.
Using a virtual office or temporary desk rental space is only permitted during the initial licensing application process.

Picture of Pranav Modi

Pranav Modi

Mr. Pranav Modi, CA is supported by 12+ years of Consulting, Auditing and Accounting practice across diverse sectors.

Book A Free Consultation

Quick Contact