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How to get a tourism license in Dubai

How to get a tourism license in Dubai

Every year the number of tourists increases. Many factors contribute to the development of the tourism business. The direction becomes a successful investment of money if the work is properly organized. Getting a tourism license in Dubai is not so difficult. The main thing is to deal with all legal aspects and be ready to go through several stages.

What is a Dubai Tourism License?

This is a permit document that gives the right to conduct activities in this area. Not only travel agents themselves must have a document. All related areas also work only in accordance with the legislation. 

Types of Tourism License in Dubai


Any business benefits, initiatives, and support are provided equally for both local and foreign businessmen.

To be more specific, they earn money on tourism in the UAE:

  • Hotel business, especially in expensive areas (Downtown, Burj Khalifa), where occupancy reaches 100%;
  • Tour operators and travel agencies, especially due to the expansion of the flight network, through the development of a unique niche definition product;
  • Restaurants;
  • Trade;
  • Transport, especially through the services of limo and car rental, as well as developers of applications for automation and supervision of orders for transportation, trade, service sector;
  • Organization of events, in particular, focused on meetings, conferences, forums by professional and trade organizations.

For outbound tour operators

The license is issued to tour operators by the registrar, in particular, in Dubai – by the Economic Department.

A professional license and only registration of a local company is available for this type of activity.

Only foreigners can act as founders of the company (own 100% of the authorized capital), but there must be a local service agent.

There are specialized fees: up to 10,000 AED.

A full-fledged office on the local territory and such licenses grants the right to book tickets.

When obtaining a license for domestic and foreign tourism at the same time, only 2,000,000 AED is required as a guarantee, and other fees, but they are insignificant.

For inbound tour operators


The rules and the method of obtaining a permit are not much different for tour operators who work within the country. The main distinguishing feature is that the license renewal will cost less – 1500000 AED.

For travel agents

Agencies perform a full range of services in this area. If customers contact such a company, they get everything from booking a ticket to organizing a trip. The principle of obtaining a permit does not differ from the standard one in this area, but only the cost is slightly higher.

For a Tour Guide

The main specialization is to accompany during trips and sightseeing of interesting places.

  • The license is valid for 1 year after registration. Tour Guide Award is a program that is mandatory to start working as a tour guide.
  • Every guide must have a badge. This helps to identify the employee so that he has the right to pass to various objects.

How to get a Tourism License in UAE?

The procedure is quite standard. If you are not familiar with the order of registration, then they will explain to you what documents are needed. and what stages you will have to go through.

Decide on a Mainland or a Free Zone License

As a rule, free zones have more loyal rules that apply only within the selected area. But the company has the right to provide services also only within the region.

If an entrepreneur plans to cooperate with local companies, it is preferable to choose mainland ones.

Dubai beach

Business Activity

Within the framework of this permit, you will be able not only to open a travel agency, but also to conduct business of a similar nature, including renting cars or water transport, or renting housing. the company.

Company Name

There are several rules in the country that regulate the specifics of the company name. First, it must be unique. Secondly, the name should not cause doubts, not from the side of the law, not from the side of the moral rules of the country.

Initial Approval

You do not need to start collecting documents until you have received preliminary approval. This approval is issued after the approval of the type of activity and the name. In addition, you will need the signatures of all the founders.

Site Inspection

If you have been granted approval, then the verification process begins. The office will be visited by the police to identify possible violations. If there are violations, they need to be eliminated and checked again.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) Agreement

The cooperation agreement must be notarized. If the contract is drawn up in another language, then first you need to translate it into Arabic.

Limited Liability Company

Sign the Agreement

In addition, a notary public will be required to sign the agreement in his presence.

Submit the documents

When all these steps are completed, you can send documents. They will be checked, and based on them, a decision will be made on the resolution of the activity.

Required Documents

The list of documents that need to be provided is standard. The founder must prove his identity and provide documents that indicate the absence of a criminal record. In addition, it is required to prove the presence of an office and the liquidity of the business. All the requirements for the list can be found out immediately after receiving preliminary approval.

Tourism License Fee 

Travel agency license cost in Dubai is around 20000 AED. 

The final cost can be found out after choosing a specific type of activity and working conditions.

Who should apply for the Dubai Tourism License?


Permission is required for anyone who plans to conduct business in the tourism sector or even in close areas, for example, restaurant business or car rental.

In principle, the authorities are good-natured towards foreign entrepreneurs. All conditions are created so that business in the country grows, including small businesses. The authorities impose a minimum of requirements. The process does not take much time and you do not need to bypass a thousand instances to get permission. Everything is simple and accessible. The reason is clear – it is economic stability, which does not depend on oil.

Benefits of getting a Tourism License 

The UAE is a recognized leader in the field of tourism. This is also indicated by the figures. Although the main infrastructure in this industry has already developed, there are factors that allow the industry to actively grow and develop.

In particular, tourists vacationing prefer not only luxury accommodation, but also entertainment, which makes it possible to develop industries related to the tourist destination that do not require large investments.

Due to investments in the entertainment industry, the problem of filling hotels in the off-season is being successfully solved. The projected occupancy rate of hotels for this period is 80%, which is attractive to investors, as it guarantees earnings in the industry all year round.

Tourists on the bus

The unconditional guarantee of successful business investments is government support, in particular:

  • To promote the Tourism Strategy approved by the Executive Council, which should increase the influx of tourists to Dubai alone to 23-25 million visitors by 2025;
  • Dubai Emirate development strategy aimed at infrastructure modernization;
  • An increase of the Emirate of Dubai itself by 1.5 times, as well as an increase in the population of the emirate;
  • Changes in migration policy, in particular, simplification of the visa regime;
  • Advertising companies with the participation of world stars aimed at attracting attention to new tourist routes;
  • The global greening strategy of the UAE and in particular the Emirate of Dubai.

Another undoubted advantage of doing business in the UAE is that all government initiatives are available to all participants, in connection with the system of direct dialogue between business and government.

There is a unique situation in the UAE today: only 1 million citizens of this country account for 10 million Dubai residents. That is, in fact, the “most dangerous competitor” has been eliminated for business. That is, the entrepreneur who “grew up on these streets and has entrances to all the doors.”

Main Activities that require a Travel and Tourism License Dubai

In addition to the standard option to get the status of a hotelier and open a drinking and entertainment establishment, there are a great many other business areas closely related to tourism. The principle of receipt and the rules apply to all sectors of this area.

Renting out residential premises

This business is different from the hotel business and provides not a commercial, but a professional license, which is available to companies in the form of Sole Establishment or Civil Company. 100% foreign ownership is allowed without a local agent, both for newly formed corporations and for branches of foreign companies.

To start a real estate rental business in the Emirates, it is necessary to obtain consent from the Department of Tourism, rent an office at the place of incorporation (virtual is not allowed), open a bank account in Dubai, obtain a license and establish business contacts with the owners of real estate.


Tourism Consultancy as a business

The Arab Emirates are leaders in consulting services in the field of tourism, which increase annually in volume, but do not lose revenue at the same time. The average salary of a consultant in 2021 was 55,032 AED, which is equivalent to about 15,000 USD.

By opening tourism consulting, the founder of the business can be the sole owner of the company without obligations to attract a local agent or a resident partner.

Organizing Excursions

It is available for private citizens who must obtain a license in Dubai Economy and Tourism, complete training under the Tour Guide Award program and provide documents on request. Upon successful certification, the guide badge is issued for a period of 1 year and can be subsequently extended. Such a document gives the right to employment in the Emirates as a guide or tour guide or registration of your own business.

Corporate and Business Tourism

This area involves the organization of trips for the purpose of holding business meetings, business lunches or other events.

Differences between Dubai Tourism Licenses depending on the economic jurisdiction    

The choice of territory is not geographical features. It’s about rules and business requirements.

Tourism License issued in Mainland

Companies registering in MainLand can do business all over the country.

Suitable for: entrepreneurs aiming for a long-term presence in the market.

How much can it cost: the price of business registration is calculated based on: the goals and direction of the organization, the citizenship of the founders, the number of employees. For each employee, it is required to open a residence for 2 years and make insurance. The cost of this is ~2300 USD. Renting a room is also mandatory, its area must be at least 19 sq. m. On average, the cost of opening a company varies from 8000 to 25000 USD. The average check is 10000-13000 USD.


Tourism License issued in a Free Zone

A certain territory, within which foreign entrepreneurs can conduct business, buy and rent premises, and recruit a team. It is important that each is autonomous and has its own corporate regulation.

Suitable for: organizations focused on foreign markets and specializing in tourism and other areas.

Entrepreneurs choose an economic zone based on the direction of business.

The United Arab Emirates is a tourist center where unique business opportunities for all global entrepreneurs are presented. In 2022, it is the only jurisdiction with low taxes and an open sky for tourists from all continents.

Such a chance to enter the world market and take its place among the top travel companies is rare. In addition, you can get a tourism license in Dubai and conduct business in the sector, which is considered one of the most profitable.

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Vladimir Sviridov
Vladimir Sviridov
General Manager RLC Consulting
With a Postgraduate Masters in Finance from The, Moscow State University, Russia. Vladimir started his professional career as an auditor of the financial sector of EY. After that, he worked for several years in senior positions in corporate banking. In 2018-2021, he managed the finances of a large agricultural holding, and is currently responsible for strategic planning, corporate partnership and financial management in the role of General Manager of RLC Consulting GROUP in the UAE.

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