How to get a tourism business
license in the UAE

UAE corporate law confers valuable property ownership rights that prioritize secure
possession and strict confidentiality. That keeps assets locked away from undesirables
and totally in your control. Sales are also tax-free and profits can be repatriated.

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The tourism industry is one of the leading sectors of the United Arab Emirates economy and it also attracts foreign investors. The UAE is the only country in the world where this industry is showing such rapid growth. This makes it feasible to set up a travel company to conduct business within the country and also internationally.


The main tourism activities that require licensing in the UAE

Using an Emirati company as an instrument to own and protect real estate and assets provides a variety of valuable and unique benefits as well as business opportunities. There are some factors to take into account when designing an ownership scheme. Understanding the law comes first and foremost, and SORP Group’s experienced specialists will guide you professionally.

Tour operator
activities

Organizing and marketing travel programs abroad, both independently and through agents. Arranging local tours, preparing visas, transport and accommodation.

Tourism
agency

Selling travel programs organized by tour operators, air tickets and other related services, including accommodation, visas, arranging tours and transportation.

Business and
corporate tourism

A full range of services including organizing business trips, workshops, meetings, training sessions, incentive trips as well as corporate parties and promotional events.

Organizing
excursions

Providing travel agency activities throughout the UAE as a contractor. Providing individual and group itineraries both independently and as a contractor for travel agencies.

Renting out residential
premises

Short-term and long-term rental of apartments, villas, guest houses, individual apartments and rooms in order to generate income.

Tourism Consultancy
as a business

Preparing marketing and feasibility studies, along with the required surveys and field questionnaires, to identifying opportunities for new tourist facilities and services.

SORP Group solutions for the incorporation of tourism business in the UAE

Tourism activities are regulated by the UAE Department of Tourism. Therefore, to choose the optimal model for the organization of this business in the United Arab Emirates, we have developed solutions that will not allow you to make mistakes

Evaluation and business analysis

Evaluation of a business idea, selection of a suitable license, the best place for incorporation and the type of company

Company incorporation

Rapid incorporation through close cooperation with the registration authorities and use of SORP's own experienced resources

Local agent or partner

Nominal services from SORP Investment LLC with registration of the waiver of rights in the Dubai Court

Dubai incorporation address

Lease of space in the SORP business center for licensing: offices with Ejari / Estidama, flexi-desks and virtual addresses

Opening bank accounts

Providing professional support for opening corporate accounts, fast passing of compliance checks and KYC procedures

PRO business support

Providing support for obtaining investor visas, visas for employees and their family members, renewing licenses and permits


Key features and differences of tourism licenses depending on the jurisdiction where issued

Tourism License issued in Mainland

Tourism License issued in Mainland

  • Provision of a wide range of travel services, without restrictions, and in any territory, both in the domestic market and abroad.

  • To obtain a tourism license, it is mandatory to get certain permits for conducting activities from regulatory government agencies, such as the Department of Tourism and others. The main requirements of these departments can be summarized as the availability of a qualified manager, a valid business plan, and insurance.

  • Available for the activities of hotels and guest houses 100% foreign ownership without the involvement of a local partner. It is recommended that a Process Agent be appointed to represent the interests of clients in Immigration and solve other functional tasks.

  • A number of tourism activities, for example, consulting or management, are formed under 100% foreign ownership, but with the appointment of an LSA - a local service agent.

Tourism license issued in a Free Trade Zone

For doing international business

  • The provision of travel services by a travel agent or tour operator only in overseas destinations, as well as the possibility of providing travel consulting, provided that you do business only outside the UAE. There is a narrow choice and a limited number of types of FTZ tourism licenses.

  • Work in the domestic market can be set up through the implementation of travel services under an agency scheme, where a travel company in the FTZ acts as an intermediary (agent) and works to provide travel services only through local accredited travel companies (companies with a travel license issued to a local company). Another limitation is the inability to obtain quotas for issuing tourist visas in the UAE.

  • There are no restrictions on the list of shareholders. Full 100% foreign ownership is permitted, as well as obtaining a residency visa.

The main requirements of the UAE government authorities

  • Bank guarantee

    The government may insist that bank guarantees be put in place for certain types of activities.

  • Special approvals

    A number of tourism licenses require mandatory special registration with the Department of Tourism and Commerce

  • Management qualification

    Some tourism activities require taking additional courses and passing an exam at the American University of Dubai.

  • E-registration

    The sale of tickets for tourism programs, seminars, conferences, or any mass gathering events requires prior registration with the relevant Department

  • Additional permits

    Some licenses require additional approvals from the Police, Civil Aviation, Civil Defense and Municipalities.

Setting up a company to develop and promote your tourism services and products is not only an entryway into the local Gulf markets but also a step along the path to build and optimize your international business structure. Even though it operates a 0% tax business environment, the country adheres to similar financial and legal rules as western economies do as regards anti-money laundering legislation. That requires every company to comply with KYC procedures of UAE banks, prove economic substance in the UAE and be part of tax data exchange under CRS.


SORP solutions for licensing and supporting tourism businesses

Tourism activities in the UAE are regulated by the Department of Tourism and Commerce. To choose the optimal model for setting up and organizing a tourism business, we have developed solutions that prevent you from making mistakes.

International legal consulting

Providing consultancy and advice about legal issues in foreign countries and how UAE legal tools and solutions might be applied to resolve them legitimately

Support for operating bank accounts

Assistance in fulfilling mandatory bank compliance requirements, confirming business transactions on your corporate account and communicating with the bank

Providing nominee services

Using nominees in the UAE in order to conceal beneficiaries and for applying transfer pricing strategies between all affiliated entities in a corporate structure

International tax planning

Assistanvce in choosing a place of incorporation and the legal form of the company, and support with navigating licensing procedures and getting the necessary permits in order to start the business

Obtaining tax resident status

Getting a tax domicile certificate protects from exchange of tax data under CRS, using double taxation treaties concluded with a number of countries

Confirming economic substance

Proof of doing business activities at the place where your company is registered, evidence of a control and management center, and UAE tax residency of your operations

SORP Group is an expert in the selection and registration of licenses in the UAE

Предоставляем профессиональный анализ потребностей Вашего бизнеса и квалифицированную оценку этапов получения туристической лицензии.

Comprehensive services

SORP offers comprehensive support for acquired companies and their shareholders: from licensing, maintaining Bank accounts to obtaining the status of a tax resident of the country

Individual approach

Your requirements are unique. That is why we treat every business individually to tailor the right services to achieve your priorities.

15 years of successful work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE

Banking support

Assistance in choosing a bank that is suitable for your purposes, support with bank accounts opening and passing KYC procedures (know your customer).



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