Businessmen who are interested in opening a travel agency in Ireland have to know that they must obtain specific licensing documents when entering this business activity. Companies operating in Ireland as travel agencies (travel agents or tour operators) have to obtain a travel agency license, which will attest to the fact that the company meets the required standards in the field.
The issuance of the license is prescribed under the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act 1982; our team of consultants in Irish company formation can advise on the procedure that has to be followed in this case and can also assist investors in the formalities of obtaining the travel agency licensing documents.
What is the legislation regulating the Irish travel agencies?
Besides the above mentioned law, the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act 1982, investors who want to open a company in Ireland as a travel agency must also comply with the regulations of the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995, the State Airports (Shannon Group) Act 2014, but also with the newer European regulations that were transposed into the Irish law (namely, the Directive (EU) 2015/2302 on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements).
The main institution which observes if the regulations of these laws are correctly followed by the Irish travel agencies is the Commission for Aviation Regulation. The institution is in charge with the issuance of the license, which is necessary for all travel agents and tour operators registered in this country.
What are the fees for the issuance of a travel agency license in Ireland?
In order to obtain a license for a travel agency in Ireland, the company’s representatives have to apply to the Commission for Aviation Regulation. The issuance of the license is generally bound by the satisfaction of two basic criteria – proof on the fact that the applicant has sufficient financial resources and on the fact that the person is suitable to develop this type of business activity.
The application, which must contain specific documents that can be presented by our team of consultants in company formation in Ireland, has to be accompanied by the proof of the payment of the fee imposed by the institution. The fees requested in this case will vary based on the nature of the license – a travel agent license or a tour operator license. Currently, the institution charges the following fees:
- • a new applicant who requests a travel agent license will pay a fee of EUR 600;
- • the renewal of the travel agent license is charged with a lower fee, of EUR 300;
- • the fee for a new applicant of a tour operator license has a price of EUR 300;
- • tour operators in Ireland are also charged based on their turnover – the fee of EUR 300 applies for a turnover of less than EUR 635,000;
- • a fee of EUR 600 is available for a tour operator with a turnover of EUR 635,001 – EUR EUR 1,270,000;
- • a fee of EUR 1,550 is applicable for turnovers ranging between EUR 1,270,001 to EUR 3,810,000;
- • a fee of 2,150 is imposed for turnovers of minimum EUR 3,810,001 to maximum EUR 6,350,000;
- • the maximum fee is of EUR 7,800, for companies with a turnover of EUR 12,700,001 – EUR 25,400,000.
What is the validity of a license for travel agencies in Ireland?
The validity of the license issued by the Commission for Aviation Regulation is of one year. As a general rule, the validity of the license can’t be of less than one year, but exceptions can apply, if the institution considers there is a valid reason for this situation. It is also important to find out that the institution will remind licensed companies on the deadline when the license expires.
What types of companies can be set up as Irish travel agencies?
The legislation stipulates that those who want to open a company in Ireland as a travel agency can register it as a corporate structure. However, other options are available and partnerships and sole traders can also be used as vehicles for the registration of a travel agency; in the latter case, the licensing procedure is also required, the following being available:
- • the sole trader and the partnership are regulated under the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act 1982;
- • in order to obtain a license, the company’s financial documents have to be audited;
- • in this case, the company needs to appoint an auditor, as requested by the Commission;
- • the auditor will audit the company’s balance sheet/statement of affairs, depending on the company’s structure;
- • the required investment in the travel agency has to be the same as the one required for corporate structures.
Businessmen are invited to contact our team of specialists in company registration in Ireland for further information on other licensing requirements applicable to travel agencies. Our specialists can provide personalized assistance and can help investors in choosing a suitable legal entity for this type of business activity.