Setting up a Travel Agency

Setting up a Travel Agency

Companies or persons in the business of making travel arrangements or conducting tours in or outside of Singapore are required to apply for a Travel Agent Licence.​

Where to apply?
Online Business Licensing System (OBLS)

What is the applicable licence fee?
Licence Fee : S$300

Who awards the travel agent licence?
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the government body that is responsible for the issuing of travel agency licenses.

Who needs a travel agent licence?
Under Section 4 of the Travel Agents Act (Cap. 334), a person carrying out the following activities would need to apply for Travel Agent’s Licence:

  1. sells tickets entitling an individual to travel, or otherwise arranges for a person a right of passage on any conveyance (not being a prescribed conveyance);
  2. sells to, or arranges or makes available for, a person rights of passage to, and hotel or other accommodation at, one or more places (being places within or outside Singapore, or some of which are within and others of which are outside Singapore);
  3. purchases for resale the right of passage on any conveyance (not being a prescribed conveyance);
  4. carries out such activity as may be prescribed; or
  5. holds himself out as, or advertises that he is, willing to carry on any activity referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d).

Operators carrying out activities in (a) do not require a licence if they intend to use conveyances owned by them, and operators carrying out activities in (b) do not require a licence if they own both the conveyance and place of accommodation.

Engaging in the business of a Travel Agent without a valid licence is an offence under the Travel Agents Act.

What are the pre-conditions before proceeding to apply for a travel agent licene?

  1. Register the business with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) to conduct the travel agent business. For businesses that are not yet registered under ACRA, please approach STB on how to apply for a travel agent licence.
  2. Registered business must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$100,000 and a net worth of the same amount.
  3. All applicants must nominate a suitable person as the Key Executive.
    • The Key Executive is responsible for the day-to-day administration and operations of the travel agency. He should preferably be a director of the business (as listed in ACRA) and have managerial experience in the travel business.
  4. Set up an e-mail address specifically for the operation of your travel agency business.
  5. All directors, executives and managerial staff of the business must be fit and proper persons and of good character and fame.
  6. Specify an office to be used for the conduct of the travel agency business.

What are the forms to be completed in connection to the application of travel agent?

  • Completed copy of Business Activities & Market Specialisation Form
  • Latest ACRA Bizfile
  • Key Executive’s Resume
  • Key Executive’s NRIC / Employment Pass
  • Completed copy of the Key Executive Declaration Form
  • Confirmation of Business Address
    To furnish STB with a certificate of Stamp Duty, which confirms your business address. If you are using a home office, kindly provide us with the documents certifying URA/HDB’s approval for it to be under the ’Home Office Scheme’.
    For any sharing of premises with another office, to submit the following additional supporting documents:

    1. Landlord’s agreement to sharing of premises.
    2. Agreement from main tenant on the sharing of premises in a business letter.
    3. A ground plan showing proper demarcations between the licensee and other occupant(s).

    Photo of proper signage display at the main lobby/entrance and within premises.

  • Director Resolution on the appointment of the Key Executive< Printed on company’s letter head and signed by more than 50% of all directors with a valid company stamp./li>
  • Confirmation of Email Address, Business Telephone & Fax Numbers, and Website Address
  • Confirmation of Key Executive’s Mobile & Residential Number, all Directors’ Residential Telephone Numbers
  • Proposed First Financial Year-End of your Business (date/month/year)
    This is essential for determining the deadline for the annual submission of your audited accounts.
    Every travel agent is required to submit its audited accounts 6 months from its financial year end, in accordance to the Travel Agents Regulations (Cap 334).

How soon can my application be approved?
The application will take approximately one to two weeks to process upon full and complete submissions of supporting documents.

How do I know if my application has been approved?
You will be informed of the outcome of your application in writing by email.

When do I have to make payment for the Travel Agent’s Licence? How much does it cost? How long is its validity?
You are required to make payment for the Travel Agent’s Licence when your application has been approved. A Travel Agent’s Licence costs S$300. A Travel Agent’s Licence will expire on 31 December of the following year in which it was issued.

What if my application is rejected?
Section (7) of the Travel Agents Act (Cap. 334) states that: “Any person who is aggrieved by a decision of the Board under this section may, within one month of being notified of the decision of the Board, appeal against such decision to the Minister whose decision shall be final”.

Once my application has been approved, will I be governed by any Act or Regulations?
The Travel Agents Act and Regulations (Cap. 334) governs the licensing of the travel agents and the regulation of their operations. All licensed travel agents are required to be familiar with the provisions of the Travel Agents Act and Regulations (Cap. 334). You are advised to download a copy of the Travel Agents Act and Regulations (Cap. 334) via the TRUST website under the ‘Resources’ menu.

Where can I get information on Travel Agent’s Licence application?
Information on the pre-requisites and procedures in applying for a travel agent’s licence can be found in the Travel Agent Handbook. The Travel Agent Handbook can be found on the TRUST websited under ‘Resources’. You can also download the Travel Agents Application User Guide from the Bulletin Board.

What are the roles and duties of a Key Executive?
Regulation 17 (1) of the Travel Agents Regulations states that the Key Executive is responsible for the proper administration and management of the affairs of the travel agency. The Key Executive must also be contactable at all times.

What are the criteria a Key Executive has to fulfil?
The Key Executive must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident. If the proposed Key Executive is a foreigner, he/she must possess a valid employment pass or entrepass issued by Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The proposed Key Executive must be a Director of the company with relevant managerial experience in the travel business. The proposed Key Executive must submit his/her curriculum vitae to STB for assessment and approval.

Am I required to have an office premise for my business prior to my licence application?
No, you are not required to secure an office premise at the time of applying your licence. You will be notified to locate a suitable office once your licence application has been approved in-principle.

If my application is granted in-principle approval, can I start to operate my business?
No. You are not allowed to commence business until STB grants final approval to your application.

My company is an online marketing platform that provides deals via a third party travel agent. Does my company require a Travel Agent’s Licence?
If your company promotes the deals and sells them to the public, the company will be required to apply for a Travel Agent Licence. As the company is collecting payment from customers for such deals, it is no longer considered as just an online marketing platform.

My company is based in Singapore and receives chauffeur service bookings for guests from overseas. My company will then dispatch the booking to the guests’ destination. Will my company require a Travel Agent’s Licence in order to operate?
Based on the information provided, we noted the following: 1) Your company is based in Singapore. 2) Your company will be/is arranging for transport/conveyance, but does not own the transport/conveyance (where in Singapore or overseas) As such, your business falls within Section 4 of the Travel Agents Act (Cap. 334) and you are required to apply for a Travel Agent’s Licence.