How to open a travel agency in Ireland

Ireland offers favorable trading conditions for touristy companies, thus it has become one of the most targeted destinations for foreign travel agencies. Irish tourism companies can benefit from a number of incentives such as the Travel Agent’s Margin Scheme whereby they are exempted from paying VAT on any services connected to tourism. Due to these privileges, tourism is one of the most thriving industries in Ireland and can be a lucrative investment for both foreign and local investors.
All tour operators and travel agents who wish to start a Travel Agency in Ireland are entitled to have a license from the Irish Travel Trade Licensing Commission for Aviation Regulation. Both foreigners and locals can open a tourism company in Ireland as long they meet the requirements of the Travel Trade Commission.  
The main legal structure under which one can set up their Travel Agency in Ireland is the Transport Act of 1982. However, the document was revised in 1995, leading to the introduction of the Package Holiday and Travel Trade Act.
Tourism Licenses In Ireland
Irish Travel Agencies can choose from two licenses:

  • a tour operators license and
  • a travel agents license

It is important to note that, application for any of the above licenses depends on whether the applicant is a sole trader or a limited liability company. If it is a limited liability company, it should have at least 25 000 euros as the minimum share capital.
A step-by-step guide to open a travel agency in Ireland
The first and most important step when setting up a travel agency in Ireland is to register the business with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) in Ireland. It is after being certified by the CRO that you can apply for the Travel Agents Licence or Tour Operator license. 
Licensed Travel Agents or tour operators can legally:

  • Deliver travel packaged outside the Irish borders by air, sea or land;
  • Sell touristy packages based on commissions;
  • Receive payments related to the sale of tourism packages;

It is also important to note that this license is only valid for 12 months and will have to be renewed annually if the holder wants to continue trading.

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