How to Start an Inbound Tourism Business in Dubai with Meydan Free Zone?

Nicky Peng

Nicky Peng

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Dubai has an impressive inbound tourism industry due to its world-class infrastructure, iconic attractions, and diverse experiences. The city offers many attractions, including the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah, as well as shopping, entertainment, and business opportunities. Tourism in Dubai is actively supported and invested in by the government, and the industry has shown steady growth over the past few years. As a global leader in innovation and unique experiences, Dubai has the potential to become a preferred destination for inbound tourists in the coming years.

Meydan Free Zone offers many other tourism-related business opportunities besides being an In Bound Tour Operator. Among them are Transport by Tour Buses (4922.94), Marine Tours Operation (5021.99), Tourist Attractions Smart Cards Services (6419.98), Investment in Tourist Enterprises & Management (6499.88), Government Tourist Liaison Office (7010.97), Tourism & Recreation Consultants (7020.94), Travel Agency and Tour Operator Activities (7910.00), Agencies primarily engaged in selling travel, tour, transportation, and accommodation services to the general public and commercial clients (7911.01), Tour Operator Activities (7912.00), Arranging and Assembling Tours That are Sold Through Travel Agencies or Directly by Tour Operators (7912.01), Falconry Tour Services (7912.95), Out Bound Tour Operator  (7912.97), Educational & Recreational Tours Organizing  (7912.98), Provision of Visitor Assistance Services, Tourist Guides (7990.04), Tourism Promotion Activities (7990.05), Tourist Guiding Services  (7990.99), Tourist Facilities Security Guard Services (8010.94), Instruction for Tourist Guides  (8522.02), and Hospitality and Tourism Training Services (8550.13).

7912.96 In Bound Tour Operator

To conduct an Inbound Tourism business or to become an In-Bound Tour Operator in Dubai, apply for a license under Tour Operator Activities and choose business activity Inbound Tour Operator with business activity code 7912.96.

Your Inbound Tour Operator business license grants you the authority to arrange local incentive tours and facilitate tours for foreign visitors attending conferences and events. This entails managing various aspects, such as visa processing, transportation, and accommodation arrangements. However, it is important to note that permits from the relevant authorities are necessary when organizing outdoor activities or events.

Inclusions

Your Inbound Tour Operator business license enables you to organize and curate (arrange and assemble) tours marketed and sold through travel agencies or tour operators. You can encompass a variety of elements, including transportation, accommodation, meals, visits to museums, historical or cultural sites, and theatrical, musical, or sporting events.

Third-Party Approval

Setting up an inbound tourism business or becoming an inbound tour operator in Dubai does not require third-party approval. In other words, you are not required to obtain approvals or permissions from external organizations before starting a business or operating as a tour operator.

However, it is important to note that you will need permits from the relevant authorities when organizing outdoor activities or events as part of your tourism services. The requirement applies specifically to theatrical performances, musical performances, and sporting events. You must obtain approval from the relevant authorities for each activity you organize. This ensures that the events comply with government safety and regulatory standards. Culture, arts, sports, and entertainment departments – Ministry of Culture and Youth, Dubai Economic Department and Tourism Authority (DCAA), Dubai Sports Council, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) may be among these authorities.

ESR & UBO Regulations

Specific regulatory requirements such as Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) and Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) are imposed by the government of Dubai to ensure transparency, prevent money laundering, and combat tax evasion. However, conducting an Inbound Tourism business or becoming an Inbound Tour Operator in Dubai is not subject to these regulations.

Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) regulations typically require businesses to disclose the true beneficiaries or individuals who ultimately own or control the company. This information helps authorities track and prevent illicit activities by identifying individuals using enterprises to hide their assets or engage in illegal transactions. Since Inbound Tour Operator is exempt from UBO requirements, the business owners or beneficiaries may not need to disclose this information.

Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) ensure businesses have a genuine economic presence in Dubai. The purpose of these regulations is to discourage the use of shell companies or entities created solely for tax optimization purposes. However, Inbound Tour Operators are not subject to such ESR requirements. 

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance Regulations

As an inbound tourism business in Dubai, you are not obligated to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. These regulations are designed to prevent the circulation of illicit funds through different financial transactions, including trading valuable commodities.

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