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Opening a Travel Agency in Singapore

Updated on Tuesday 31st March 2020

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By Vlad Cuc, specialist in company formation matters 

Every individual or company providing any type of service related to travel and tours can be deemed a travel agency in Singapore. The travel agent is an entity providing travel and tour packages including travel services by land, sea or air. However, transportation companies in Singapore may not be considered travel agents. Travel agents fall under the regulations of the Travel Agent’s Act and are required to obtain a license with the Singapore Tourism Board.

Our Singapore company formation consultants can offer more information on the Travel Agent’s Law. We can help both local and foreign investors interested in setting up travel agencies in Singapore.

You can also watch the video below for information on how to open a company in Singapore as a travel agency:

Open a company in Singapore as a travel agency

The first step to complete when deciding to set up a travel agency in Singapore is the structure used to offer services. From this point of view, the travel agency must comply with the requirements of the Company Law. Both the sole trader and the limited liability company are suitable for opening a travel agency in the city-state, however, the limited liability is preferred by most investors because it offers more benefits.

In order to set up a travel agency under the form of a limited liability company in Singapore, one must:

  1. select an appropriate business name for the company and reserve it with the Trade Register;
  2. prepare the incorporation documents for the Singapore company, as required by ACRA;
  3. set up a bank account and deposit the minimum share capital as required by the Singapore Travel Agents Act;
  4. register for taxation and VAT purposes with the Singapore Inland Revenue Authority;
  5. apply for the travel agent license with the Singapore Tourism Board and set up a website and e-mail address.

The opening of a travel agency in Singapore does not take too long to complete, however, one must pay attention to all the steps. Our Singapore company formation specialists can offer more information on the requirements which must be respected when setting up a travel agency business in the city-state.

Travel agents according to the Travel Agent’s Act in Singapore

According to the Singapore Travel Agents Law, both natural persons and companies can take on the role of a travel agency and provide various services related to the organization of travel and tours. These services can be provided through all means of transportation: land, sea and air.

Singapore companies established as travel agents may provide the following services:

  • - sell tickets to individuals traveling to any destinations,
  • - provides services that facilitates the travelers’ transportation, accommodation and visa requirements when traveling outside Singapore,
  • - organizes tours, excursions, sightseeing;
  • - advertises the services it offers;
  • - buys the right to resell certain touristic packages.

Our company formation advisors in Singapore can assist those interested in starting a travel agency in the city-state with the company registration procedure.

What are the steps to start a travel agency in Singapore?

The first step to open a travel agency is to open a company in Singapore. The company must be registered according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code 78211 for travel agents or 78212 for ticketing agents, depending on the services to be provided. All travel agents are required to deposit a minimum share capital of 100,000 S$ in Singapore. The company must also have a Singapore resident director and a website.

For details about creating a website for a travel agency in Singapore you may ask our specialists.

Obtaining a travel agency license in Singapore

Once all the requirements are met and the company is registered, a travel agency license must be obtained with the Singapore Tourism Board. The application for the Singapore travel license is submitted online. The application will be processed in very short while, varying from 3 to 5 working days. Once the application is processed the Singapore company will receive an In-Principle Approval. A special requirement in order to open a company in Singapore as a travel agency is to provide a tenancy agreement concluded for at least one year. The Singapore travel agency license has a two-year validity period and must be renewed one month before the expiry date.

There are two main types of travel agent licenses which can be obtained in Singapore: the general and the niche license.

The niche license can be obtained by companies selling, advertising and arranging inbound tours. Under this license, the travel agency can not sell accommodation services with hotels in Singapore. Also, the minimum share capital for obtaining a niche travel agent license is 50,000 SGD; however, this is rarely applied for.

Under the general license, both inbound and outbound tours and accommodation can be sold and/or arranged.

The key executive in a Singapore travel agency

One of the most important requirements related to opening a travel agency in Singapore refers to the management of the company. The agency must appoint a key executive who is a Singapore citizen or a foreigner who has a residence permit and who must be approved by the Singapore Tourism Board.

The Singapore key executive must have an excellent reputation, sufficient experience and the right qualifications to run the daily operations of the travel agency. In order to be approved by the STB, the key executive must submit a CV, a few recommendation letters and testimonials with the Board.

Office space requirements for travel agencies in Singapore

Under the law, a travel agency can undertake various activities for which it can have more than one office space. However, under the law, for the activities of the travel agency, the representative in charge of the company registration procedure in Singapore must provide complete information about the use of the premises for the purpose of completing travel agent activities. For this purpose, a floor plan must be submitted with the Singapore Tourism Board and a visible signboard with the name and object of activity of the company must be placed outside the premises.

The requirements are slightly different for sole traders. These can be explained by our Singapore company formation advisors. We can also help you change a sole proprietorship into a limited liability company should you be interested in expanding your business.

Other requirements for travel agencies in Singapore

Among the requisites for starting a travel agency in Singapore is also having a specific email address which will be used to communicate with the customers. The Singapore company must also comply with the “Terms and Conditions for the Use of the Travel Related Users’ System”, shortly known as TRUST and which provides the norms related to carrying out a travel agent activity in the city-state. Also, all Singapore travel agencies or sole proprietors operating as travel agents must place billboards which advertise the nature of their activity. In the case of sole traders, the approval of the Housing Development Board (HDB) or of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) must be obtained prior to starting operating.

Travel agency license renewal in Singapore

As mentioned above, the travel agency license has a 2-year validity period after which it can be renewed. The following documents must be filed with the STB when renewing a travel agency license:

  • - filing the company’s audited accounts for the former 2 years of activity;
  • - filing the company’s annual business profile returns for the former 2 years of activity;
  • - confirm the company’s particulars and submit other information required by the Board;
  • - pay any outstanding fines or penalties (if required);
  • - increase the company’s capital to the minimum amount of money necessary (if required).

The new license must be stored at the Singapore company’s head office.

Why open a travel agency in Singapore?

Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors and investment industries in Singapore, according to recent statistics offered by the STB. These show that:

  • - the first 3 quarters of 2018 brought an increase of 7.5% compared to the same period of 2017 (14 million visitors);
  • - the first half of 2018 alone brought a 7.7% growth compared to the previous year (9,2 million visitors came to Singapore in the first half 2018);
  • - tourism receipts increased by 1.1% in the 3rd quarter of 2018, reaching 20.6 billion SGD;
  • - the average occupancy rate in hotel rooms increased at 87% in the 3rd quarter of 2018, 1.2 points higher compared to the same period of the previous year.

If you want to open a Singapore company as a travel agency and need help, you can rely on our specialists.

For details about the travel agency license fee to be paid please contact our specialists in company registration in Singapore.

 

Why choose us?

Roger Pay is the Managing Director of Bestar and an experienced company formation consultant. He will help you open your company in Singapore as fast as possible. 

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As a Bestar clientyou will benefit from the joint expertise of local lawyers and consultants for opening an offshore company in Singapore.

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Call us now at +65 97236684 in order to set up an appointment with our consultants in Singapore

 
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