Prior to starting a Travel Agency in Singapore, one must register a company. A Travel Agency is a person or a company that provides services relating to travelling and tour. A Travel Agent is a body which provides travel and tour packages involving different modes of transport.
Under Section 4 of the Travel Agent’s Act (Cap 334), a travel agent is defined by the services it offers. Some services include:
- The purchasing of the requirement needed to get on any transportation for resale, conducting tours within Singapore
- The sale of tickets allowing one to travel or organise a right of passage on any form of transportation for an individual. However, the licence is not required if the transportation is owned by the company.
- The assistance of an individual to travel by selling or organising transport payment tickets, hotel lodging and foreign visas to destinations outside and within Singapore. Similarly, a licence is not required if the lodging and conveyance is owned by the company.
- Individuals are also deemed as a travel agent if they carry out activities that are set by the Board. These includes companies such as providing travel services, excursions, sightseeing, tours, tourist services and ticketing agents for airlines, tour buses and cruise ships.
The person or company would need to have a travel agent licence in order to run an agency. The licence will be issued by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), a government entity. Before the licence can be sent for approval, the company must have the following obligations:
- The company must be set up in Singapore and have the purpose of doing business as a travel agency. The company must be registered under the Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) codes of 78211 for Travel Agents And Tour Operators, or 78212 for Ticketing Agencies.
- Cash flow and good liquidity and solvency of the company is very important. Thus, the paid-up capital that is used to set up the company must be at least S$10,000.
- Employees must be a Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or employment pass holder and must also be accepted by STB.
- Fourth, running a business requires the management team and executives to be of good moral character and reputation. Evidence of conduct such as letters of decent demeanour, police clearance and credit background checks may be used by STB for inspection.
- Fifth, having a website allows the company to communicate with the customers through IT. Also, the company would need to examine the “Terms and Conditions for the Use of the Travel Related Users’ System (TRUST)”. It is a website providing travel industry information and advice.
- Business office space and signboard must be set up if you are setting up a company that is for travel agency operations. The signboard must be concise on the services you provide. For self-employed agents, approval from Housing Development Board must be obtained before STB issues the license.
Applying for licence:
The documents needed for a license are as follows:
- Latest ACRA Biz file of the company
- Business Activities & Market Specialization Form
- Resume and Testimonial of the Key Executive
- Front & Back copy of the Key Executive’s NRIC
- Key Executive’s Declaration Form
- Letter of appointment & Director Resolution on the appointment of the Key Executive, printed on company’s letter head and signed by all directors with a valid company stamp.
- Confirmation of Company’s Business Particulars Form
- 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.
Also, Sole-proprietors/partnerships are also required to submit the Credit Bureau Singapore report for the sole-proprietor/partners.
All documents are to be submitted to STB for approval. The application of the travel agent license would take about one to two weeks to process depending on the amount of completed supporting documents.
- Supporting documents are stamped copy of the rental contract of the location(s). The agreement should not be less than one year.
- If you are applying online at enterpriseone.gov.sg, you must declare whether you are a shareholder in other travel agencies.
The license costs $300 and expires the following year which it is issued, on 31st December. After that, the travel agency is required to renew their licence.