Starting a Travel Agency in Singapore

Starting a Travel Agency in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

The allure of exploring new destinations, the excitement of crafting unforgettable journeys, and the opportunity to connect people with their dream vacations make starting a travel agency in Singapore an appealing entrepreneurial venture.

This guide is designed to walk you through the process of establishing a travel business in Singapore, highlighting the essential steps and requirements for obtaining a travel agent’s license in this vibrant city-state.

Requirements of Starting a Travel Agency in Singapore

A travel agency acts as a bridge between travelers and the various components of travel, such as flights, accommodations, and tours. In Singapore, a Travel Agent is defined as any entity that offers travel and tour packages, including air, sea, or land travel. Importantly, companies that solely provide transportation services, like taxi firms or freight transporters, do not fall under this category.

Who Needs a Travel Agency License?

Under Section 4 of the Travel Agents Act, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) mandates that any business intending to operate as a travel agent must secure a Travel Agency License (TAL). This includes entities that:

  • Sell or arrange travel tickets or rights of passage.
  • Facilitate travel by arranging transport tickets, hotel stays, and foreign visas.
  • Purchase rights of passage for resale.
  • Organize or conduct tours both within and outside of Singapore.
  • Engage in any prescribed activities related to travel services.

Starting a Travel Agency in Singapore

Types of Travel Agency Licenses

License Type Purpose
Niche License Travel agents who intend to 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 License Travel agents conducting any other activity beyond what is described in the scope of a Niche License

Pre-Requisites for a Travel Agency License

Before embarking on the application process, there are several prerequisites you must fulfill:

Company Registration

Your first step is to establish a Singapore company with the specific intent of running a travel agency. This entails registering under the appropriate Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) codes: 78211 for Travel Agents and Tour Operators, or 78212 for Ticketing Agencies. Guidance on company setup can be found in the Singapore company registration guide.


The applicant, along with every pertinent individual associated with the applicant, must be deemed appropriate for participation in the management or operation of a travel agent’s business.

A pertinent individual is defined as:

  1. The individual applicant for sole proprietorships;
  2. A partner within partnerships;
  3. A governing member, such as an executive committee member, in unincorporated associations; and
  4. Any director or officer in a managerial or executive role, such as a General Manager or Managing Director, in companies, limited liability partnerships, or other corporate entities.
Paid-up Capital

The aspiring travel agency must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000 (applicable for Niche License) or S$100,000 (for General License), along with a net value equivalent to the specified amount.

Key Executive

All applicants are required to appoint a qualified individual as the Key Executive, who will oversee the daily management and operations of the travel agency. This person should ideally be a director of the company and/or possess managerial experience in the travel industry.

Character and Repute

The company’s executives and managers must be of good moral standing. This may require submitting evidence such as police clearance and credit background checks.

Online Presence and TRUST Compliance

Having a website is mandatory for conducting travel business. Additionally, adherence to the Terms and Conditions for the Use of the Travel Related Users’ System (TRUST) is required. TRUST is a government-endorsed platform offering resources and advice for the travel industry.

Office Space and Signboard

If operating as a Private Limited Company with multiple business activities, you must clearly delineate the travel agency section in your business premises. A visible signboard indicating your business nature is also needed. Freelance travel agents working from home must obtain approval from the relevant authorities.

Starting a Travel business in Singapore

Application Procedure

Applications for a travel agency license are submitted online through the STB portal: Travel Agents and Tourist Guides Licensing System (TRUST).

Submit an application fee of S$200 to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) along with your online application. The process includes declaring any shareholdings in other travel agencies and can take up to 10 working days, following the successful submission of all necessary documents and completed information through the TRUST website. An In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter will be sent, which may list conditions to be met before final approval.

Once your application is approved, a license fee of S$400 must be paid to the STB.

Subsequently, your license will be issued electronically, and the details of your travel agency will be included in the Travel Agent Directory on the TRUST platform.

If your application is rejected, you can appeal within one month.


The travel agency license is valid for two years, with renewal required one month before expiry.

Renewal requirements include:

  • Submission of Audited Accounts for the previous two years.
  • Submission of Annual Business Profile Returns for the previous two years.
  • Maintenance of a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000 for Niche License or S$100,000 for General License, along with a net worth of the same amount.
  • Settlement of any outstanding fines, composition sums, and financial penalties.
  • Verification of business particulars.
  • Provision of any additional information as requested by the Board.

Starting a travel agency in Singapore is a promising venture given the country’s robust tourism sector and strategic location in Asia. By meticulously following the outlined steps and ensuring compliance with STB’s regulations, you can embark on this exciting journey, bringing unique travel experiences to your clients. With dedication and the right approach, your travel business in Singapore can soar to new heights, connecting travelers with the beauty and diversity of destinations around the globe.


Outsource to AG Singapore

To streamline your company’s registration process in Singapore, consider partnering with a corporate service provider such as AG Singapore. As a comprehensive mid-tier accounting company in Singapore, we offer a range of services including company incorporation, accounting services, auditing services, and more, designed to support your business’s successful establishment and growth in this strategic hub.

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