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Travel and Tourism License Cost in Dubai: Mainland vs Free Zone

Travel and Tourism License Cost in Dubai: Mainland vs Free Zone

Dubai is a popular destination for both business and leisure travel; as such, the tourism industry plays a vital role in the city’s economy. Dubai experienced a significant increase in tourism in 2022, with nearly 23.7 million travellers visiting the city, an 89% increase from the previous year. This growth can be attributed to the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, which has led to a surge in pent-up travel demand. 


On New Year’s Eve alone, the city, known for its luxurious hotels and dining options, welcomed over 107,082 visitors, including 95,445 via its airports, 6,527 via the Hatta Border Crossing, and 5,010 by ship. To establish a business in Dubai’s travel and tourism industry, it is necessary to know the travel and tourism license cost in Dubai and to register with the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing. 

Travel and Tourism License Cost in Dubai

When considering starting a business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the first decision is to establish a mainland or free zone company. Both options have unique advantages and disadvantages.

Travel and Tourism License in Dubai Mainland 

A Travel and Tourism License in Dubai Mainland allows you to trade with the UAE market and participate in government contracts. In the Mainland, investors are allowed full ownership of hotels and guest houses without requiring a local partner. This means that an individual or company from outside of the UAE can establish and operate a hotel or guest house without the need to share ownership with a local partner. However, mainland companies are subject to the country’s corporate tax laws, which can be relatively high.

Travel and Tourism License in Dubai Free Zone 

A free zone company offers several benefits, including a 0% tax rate, no currency restrictions, full customs tax exemption, and the ability to repatriate 100% of profits. These benefits make free zone companies a popular choice for businesses looking to reduce their tax burden and operate more flexibly. However, free zone companies are not allowed to trade directly with the UAE market, which can be a drawback for some businesses.

It is advisable to seek guidance from a company set-up specialist like Choose UAE when making this significant decision. Choose UAE is a company formation expert who can assist with mainland and free zone travel and tourism licensing. Whether you’re looking to set up a travel agency, tour operator, or any other tourism-related business, Choose UAE can help you navigate the complex process of obtaining the travel and tourism license in Dubai. With the help of Choose UAE, you can be confident that your travel and tourism business will fully comply with all relevant regulations and be ready to start operations as soon as possible.

Benefits of getting a Travel and Tourism License in Dubai

  • A single license allows for both inbound and outbound tour operations and a travel agency without additional bank guarantees or fees.
  • One can plan, arrange and host shows, exhibitions, and international conferences under this license.
  • The new regulations have resulted in a reduction in the initial investment required for your company.
  • Having a travel agency enables you to provide visitor visas (pending immigration approval) and sell airline tickets within the UAE.

The cost of obtaining a travel and tourism license in Dubai can vary depending on whether the business is located on the mainland or in a free zone. Generally, businesses on the mainland may face higher costs due to additional government fees. In comparison, those in free zones may have lower costs and more flexibility regarding company structure and ownership. Ultimately, the decision of where to set up a travel and tourism business in Dubai will depend on the specific needs and goals of the company.

How Can Choose UAE Help

Choose UAE is a company that offers unbiased and current advice on setting up a business in the UAE, including obtaining a travel and tourism license in Dubai. Our relationship with you doesn’t stop at the point of travel and tourism license issuance. We provide ongoing support to businesses, from the startup phase and beyond, intending to deliver exceptional customer service tailored to the business needs.

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