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Setting up a Travel Agent Company

Updated: Aug 13, 2023


Setting up a Travel Agent Company | Bestar
Setting up a Travel Agent Company | Bestar


Why Set up a Travel Agent Company in Singapore


Here are some of the reasons why you might want to set up a travel agent company in Singapore:

  • Strategic location: Singapore is a major transportation hub in Southeast Asia, with direct flights to over 200 cities around the world. This makes it easy for travel agents in Singapore to book flights and arrange travel packages for their customers.

  • Favorable regulatory environment: Singapore has a favorable regulatory environment for travel agents. The government provides a number of incentives to encourage the growth of the travel industry, such as tax breaks and subsidies.

  • Competitive labor market: Singapore has a skilled and competitive labor market. This makes it easy to find and hire the talent you need to run a travel agency.

  • Prosperous economy: Singapore has a strong and prosperous economy. This means that there is a large pool of potential customers for your travel agency.

  • Strong tourism industry: Singapore is a popular tourist destination. This means that there is a lot of demand for travel services.

Of course, there are also some challenges to setting up a travel agent company in Singapore. These include:

  • High cost of living: Singapore is a relatively expensive city to live in. This can make it difficult to make a profit as a travel agent.

  • Competition: There are a number of established travel agents in Singapore. This means that you will need to offer competitive prices and services to be successful.

  • Government regulations: The Singapore government has a number of regulations that travel agents must comply with. This can be time-consuming and complex.

Overall, the pros of setting up a travel agent company in Singapore outweigh the cons. If you are looking for a country with a strategic location, a favorable regulatory environment, and a skilled labor market, then Singapore is a great place to start your business.

Here are some additional tips for setting up a successful travel agent company in Singapore:

  • Specialize in a niche market: There are many different types of travel agents, from those who specialize in luxury travel to those who specialize in budget travel. By specializing in a niche market, you can focus your marketing efforts and provide your customers with the best possible service.

  • Partner with airlines and hotels: Partnering with airlines and hotels can give you access to discounted rates and other benefits. This will allow you to offer your customers better deals and make more money.

  • Use technology to your advantage: There are a number of travel technology platforms that can help you automate tasks and manage your bookings. This will save you time and money, and allow you to focus on providing excellent customer service.

  • Build relationships with your customers: The travel industry is all about relationships. Take the time to get to know your customers and understand their needs. This will help you build trust and loyalty, and keep them coming back for more.

Setting up a Travel Agent Company


Here are the steps on how to set up a travel agent company in Singapore:

  1. Choose a business structure. You can choose to set up your company as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or public limited company (PLC). The most common choice for travel agent companies is the LLC.

  2. Register your company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). You can do this online or by mail.

  3. Obtain a travel agent's licence from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). This is a mandatory requirement for any company that sells travel packages to or from Singapore.

  4. Open a bank account for your company. This will be used to receive payments from customers and to pay for travel arrangements.

  5. Hire a team of professionals. You will need to hire a travel consultant, customer service representative, and marketing and sales executive to help you with your business.

  6. Develop a travel agency website. This will be your online storefront and will allow you to reach a wider audience.

  7. Market and promote your travel agency. You can market your travel agency through online platforms, social media, and offline channels such as print advertising and trade shows.

  8. Provide excellent customer service. This is essential for any travel agent company. Make sure your customers are happy with your services and they will come back for more.

Here are some of the key requirements that you have to comply with when setting up a travel agent company in Singapore:

  • Your company must be incorporated in Singapore.

  • Your company must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000 for general travel agencies and S$100,000 for niche travel agencies.

  • You must have at least two directors, one of whom must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.

  • You must have a qualified travel consultant who has at least two years of experience in the travel industry.

  • You must have a travel agency website.

  • You must provide excellent customer service.

Travel Agent Licence Application


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 under the Travel Agents Act (Chapter 334).


Who Needs a Licence


You will need to apply for a travel agent licence with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) if your business falls within any of the following:


(a) Supplying any person a right to travel on any conveyance;


(b) Supplying any person a right to travel on any conveyance to, and a right of accommodation at a hotel or similar boarding premises at one or more places, whether in Singapore or elsewhere;


(c) Purchasing, or reserving, for resale to a person a right to travel on any conveyance;


(d) Supplying any tour (whether or not organised by the person) to any other person.


The term “supply”, in relation to a travel product, includes the sale, or arranging for the provision, of the travel product.


However, there are certain exemptions or different types of travel agent licences available in the following scenarios:


o Operators carrying out activities do not require a Travel Agent Licence if they are using conveyances owned by them;


o Operators carrying out activities do not require a Travel Agent Licence if the conveyance travels only within Singapore and the operator does not carry on a business of supplying tours;


o Operators carrying out activities do not require a Travel Agent Licence if they own the conveyance and either own or operate the place of accommodation;


o Operators carrying out the activities do not require a Travel Agent Licence if they are supplying tours only at any place or point of interest owned or operated by them (e.g. a museum conducting tours within the museum itself);


o Operators carrying out activities do not require a Travel Agent Licence if they are supplying tours where participants only visit places or points of interest within Singapore and where:


§ The operator does not provide any conveyance to the participants of the tour; or


§ Every participant is required to contribute to the movement of the conveyance provided (e.g. walking, cycling or Segway tours);


This Act applies only where transactions in relation to any of the activities described above are carried out in Singapore. For example, a travel agent based overseas who arranges and sells a travel package outside of Singapore, and for which payment is collected outside of Singapore, does not require a Travel Agent Licence, even if the travel package includes travel to or from Singapore.


Types of Travel Agent Licences


STB currently offers 2 types of travel agent licences.


Niche Licence

The holder of a niche licence can sell, arrange or advertise only tours within Singapore, that provide conveyance to participants but without any right of accommodation (e.g. sit-in coach tours).

General Licence

The holder of a general licence can carry on the business of any or more of the following:


a. Supplying any person a right to travel on any conveyance


b. Supplying any person -


i. a right to travel on any conveyance to; and

ii. a right of accommodation at a hotel or similar boarding premises at, one more places, whether in Singapore or elsewhere;


c. purchasing, or reserving, for resale to person a right on any conveyance;

d. supplying any tour (whether or not organised by the licensee) to any other person.


Requirements


Before proceeding to apply for a Travel Agent's licence, you are required to fulfil the following conditions:


1. Registration of Business Entity

All applicants are required to first register the business entity with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) solely for the purpose of conducting the business of a travel agent.


For Sole-Proprietors (SP), Partnerships, & Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), applicants are also required to register your business with ACRA solely for the purpose of conducting the business of a travel agent.


2. Paid-Up Capital and Net Value

For registered business entities (including dormant entities) applicants shall ensure that at any time, the issued and paid-up capital in the business entity’s latest ACRA bizfile is at least S$100,000 for general travel agent licences or S$50,000 for niche travel agent licences and, the net value is not less than that amount.


For sole-proprietors, partnerships or unincorporated association, the applicants shall ensure that the net value is not less than $100,000 for general travel agent licensees or $50,000 for niche travel agent licensees.


Sole-proprietorships and partnerships are also required to submit a Credit Bureau Singapore report for verification of their credit worthiness.


3. Key Executive

All applicants must nominate a suitable person for the position of a Key Executive (KE). The KE is the contact person between the Board and the travel agency. He / She is responsible for the proper day-to-day administration, operations and management of the affairs of the travel agency. To ensure clear lines of accountability and full commitment, the KE appointee should not be a concurrent KE of another licensed travel agency.


A Directors’ Resolution for the appointment of the Key Executive, printed on business entity’s letter head and signed by more than 50% of the directors (if there are two or more directors), is required to be submitted. The nominee for the Key Executive of the business entity is subject to the approval of the Board.


The Key Executive can be a Singaporean, Permanent Resident or a foreigner holding a valid employment pass or entrepreneurial pass. An employment pass / entrepreneurial pass of minimum six months validity period is required if the Key Executive is a foreigner.


The Key Executive should preferably be a Director of the entity or an equivalent to the head of the business entity with at least 1 year of managerial experience in the travel business.


For sole-proprietor or partnership, the Key Executive should preferably be the sole proprietor (Owner) / Partner.


4. Business entity Internet E-mail Address

Applicants will have to create an e-mail address specifically for the operation of your travel agency business. All e-mail correspondence regarding the travel agent licence application will be made via this e-mail address, including the notification of final approval for the Travel Agent’s Licence.


5. Management Staff and Personnel

All directors, executives and managerial staff of the entity must be persons of good character and fame. Applicants may be required to produce satisfactory evidence to support such requirements.

·

6. Operating Address and Signboard

Applicants may not have secured an office for conducting the travel agency business at the time of Travel Agent licence application; it is advisable for applicants to consider possible locations of the office in advance. In-Principle Approval assures applicants with confidence in securing office premises for their business operations before Final Approval. When the Travel Agent licence application is given In-Principle Approval, the applicant will be notified to locate a suitable office, subject to the Board’s approval of the following conditions:


(a) The applicant must produce documentary proof (e.g. certificate of stamp duty, tenancy agreement, etc.) for the premises where you intend to conduct travel agency business.


(b) The office shall be used exclusively for the conduct of the business of a travel agency.


(c) The office space may either be purchased by the business entity or leased for a minimum period of one year. If you own the premise, you need to show proof of ownership.


(d) If the Landlord is an individual, a copy of the stamped duty or property tax document should also be submitted.


(e) For home office premises, documents showing approval from the relevant authorities (HDB/URA) that it is under the ‘Home Office Scheme’ should be submitted.


If there is any sharing of premises, you must submit relevant supporting documents and ground plan showing proper demarcations from other businesses.


(a) A copy of the tenancy agreement


(b) Agreement from main tenant on the sharing of premises in a business letter.


(c) A ground plan showing proper demarcations between the licensee and other occupant(s) should be submitted.


(d) A proper signage display at the main lobby/entrance and within premises.


You must declare any shareholdings in other travel agencies.


All submissions to the Board should be submitted in soft copies to the Travel Agent Licensing & Regulatory Review Department, via email to stb_ta@stb.gov.sg.


How to Apply for a Travel Agent Licence


Application must be made online via the Travel Agents and Tourist Guides Licensing System (TRUST).


You can log in to Travel Agents and Tourist Guides Licensing System (TRUST) with your Singpass details.


COMPANY'S BUSINESS PARTICULARS

Company / Organization Name:

ACRA Registration No. (UEN):

Email Address:

Office Phone No.:

Fax No.:

Website Address:


Personnel Particulars

Input the Key Executive / Director / Shareholder / Partner/ Sole Proprietor personal particulars.


Full Name:

NRIC/Passport/FIN No.:

Nationality:

Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY):

Gender: Female / Male

Date of Appointment (DD/MM/YYYY):

Designation: Eg: KEY EXECUTIVE/DIRECTOR

Residential Address:

Residential No.:

Mobile No.:

Email Address:

No. of Shares Held:


TOTAL BUSINESS OPERATION

Inbound Operations: %

Outbound Operations: %


Types of activity intended and their respective proportions of the business. Estimated percentage of the inbound and outbound operations.

Type of Services

​Inbound Operations (%)

Outbound Operations (%)

Accommodation

Transfer (e.g. Airport & Hotel transfer)

Air Ticketing

Ferry Ticketing

Train Ticketing

Sea Cruises

Tours (e.g. Sightseeing, Educational Learning Journeys, etc.)

Vehicle Rental

Travel Insurance

Visa Services

Others (Please specify)

Total

​100%

100%

MARKET SPECIALISATION

Indicate the countries and % that your business is planning in to bring to Singapore.

​Inbound Operations (Indicate source countries and %)

​Outbound Operations (Indicate recipient countries and %)


​Country

%

Country

%

Eg: CHINA

​Eg: 50%

Eg: CHINA

​Eg: 50%

​Eg: MALAYSIA

​Eg: 50%

​Eg: MALAYSIA

​Eg: 50%

​Total

100%

Total

100%

AREA(S) OF FOCUS

Indicate if you have any area(s) of focus:

Area of Focus

Inbound Operations

​Outbound Operations

Remarks (if any)

​Leisure

​Education

​Adventure

Heritage

​Eg: /

BTMICE

​Religion

Eg: /

​Haj tours

​Sports

​Eg: /

Golf tours

​Nature / Ecology

​Medicine / Healthcare

​Others (Please specify)


Do you have any overseas travel agent business branches? Indicate if there are any overseas operations:


BUSINESS WRITE-UP

1. Provide a brief write-up for your travel agent business.


Eg: My current business is...


2. Target date of commencement of travel agent business:


Eg: 31 December 2022 or Upon approval of TA licence application


3. For companies which are already in operations, describe your current business activities.


Eg: My Business will offer a complete travel experience for my clients, etc...


3.1 Elaborate on the decision to apply for a travel agent licence. If possible, support with Board of Directors' minutes of meetings or Directors' Resolution:


FINANCIAL YEAR END

Business Incorporation Date: (example: 4 January 2022)


Financial Year End (FYE): (example: 31 December


In accordance with Travel Agents Act, Regulation 14(1)(a) and 14(1)(b), every travel agent is required to submit its annual business profile return (ABPR) and audited statement of accounts (AA) within 6 months after the close of the financial year.


Example

If the financial year ends on 31 December, ABPR and AA are required to be submitted by 30 June the following year.

If the financial year ends on 31 March, ABPR and AA are required to be submitted by 30 September the same year.


For Newly Incorporated Business

Please note that the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) requires a new company to hold its fist Annual Meeting (AGM) within 18 months of its incorporation and lay its company accounts at the AGM.


For Existing Business

For an existing company/business, the first set of ABPR and AA must be submitted to STB within 6 months after the close of its ongoing financial year.



KEY EXECUTIVE DELCARATION

1) If you are a Key Executive in any travel agency licensed under the Travel Agents Act & Regulations at this time, please provide details.


2) If any of the directors in the business or you have immediate family who is holding or have previously held the Key Executive or director position in another travel agency in the last 5 years, please state name, NRIC no. of the family member(s).


Documents Required for Licence Application


(a) Latest ACRA Bizfile of the business entity


(b) Business Activities & Market Specialisation Form / Business Operations & Markets Specialisation Form


(c) Latest bank statement of your business entity (if incorporated more than 18 months)


(d) Resume and Testimonial (optional) of the Key Executive


(e) Front & Back copy of the Key Executive’s NRIC /Employment Pass/ Entre Pass


(f) Key Executive Declaration Form


(g) [Optional] Key Executive Letter of Employment and Business Entity’s Organisation Chart (only for non-ACRA listed directors)


(h) Director Resolution on the appointment of the Key Executive, printed on business entity’s letter head and signed by more than 50% of all directors if the entity has two or more directors.


(i) Confirmation of Business Particulars Form


(j) Tenancy agreement & Certificate of Stamp Duty of the premises. Ensure that the copy shows the address that has been approved and to be used as office. For home office premises, documents showing approval from the relevant authorities (HDB/URA) that it is under the ‘Home Office Scheme’.


(k) Sole-proprietors/partnerships are also required to submit the Credit Bureau Singapore reports for the sole-proprietor/partners.

(You can find out more about this from Credit Bureau Singapore: http://www.creditbureau.com.sg/)


(l) If the entity has already been in operations for more than 18 months, you are also required to submit the following:


(a) The latest audited financial accounts as part of the application.


(b) Indicate the reason(s) on the decision to apply for travel agent licence. You are required to state your reason(s) in the Business Operations & Markets Specialisation Form.


Please submit the documents via email to stb_ta@stb.gov.sg and include the following in your email subject:


(1) Business Entity Name

(2) Application Reference No.


Processing Time


The application will take approximately one to two weeks to process upon full and complete submissions of all supporting documents and information. Thereafter, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) notification via e-mail.


Validity Period


The licence will expire on 31 December of the following year in which it was issued.


Examples


Approved date: 01 Jan 2020 » Expiry date: 31 Dec 2021

Approved date: 31 Dec 2020 » Expiry date: 31 Dec 2021


Fees


An application fee of S$200 is to be paid to STB when submitting the application.


A licence fee of S$400 is to be paid to STB upon approval of the application.


How Bestar can Help


Bestar is a Singapore-based company that provides a range of services to travel agents, including:

  • Company incorporation. Bestar can help you incorporate your travel agency company in Singapore. They will take care of all the paperwork and ensure that your company is compliant with all the relevant regulations.

  • Travel agent's licence application. Bestar can help you apply for a travel agent's licence from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). They will prepare all the necessary documents and guide you through the application process.

Bestar is a trusted partner for travel agents in Singapore. They have a proven track record of success and can help you achieve your goals.


Here are some of the benefits of using Bestar to set up a travel agent company in Singapore:

  • Expertise: Bestar has a team of experienced professionals who can help you with all aspects of setting up and running a travel agency.

  • Convenience: Bestar can take care of all the paperwork and red tape involved in setting up a travel agency. This frees you up to focus on your core business activities.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Bestar's services are very affordable. They offer a range of package options to suit your budget.

  • Peace of mind: Knowing that you have a trusted partner like Bestar to support you can give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on growing your business.

If you are considering setting up a travel agent company in Singapore, use Bestar. They are a reliable and experienced provider of services to travel agents. They can help you achieve your goals and make your business a success.


Should you have any queries regarding the Travel Agent Licence application process, please contact Bestar.


Setting up a Travel Agent Company | Bestar
Setting up a Travel Agent Company | Bestar

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