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Starting a Travel Agency Business in Malaysia

The tourism sector in Malaysia is always the thriving industry in the country. The surge of tourist arrivals, especially the influx of tourists from big populations like China and India, as well as the high-income Middle Eastern market, has given the tourism sector a much-needed boost. The fast-growing tourism industry catalyses the economic growth in the nation, and many people started to see the hidden business opportunities within the tourism industry. Travel agency is one of the much-highlighted businesses that drive the growth of tourism in Malaysia.
 

What is a travel agency?

As the name implies, travel agency offers a variety of services, which include purchasing airline tickets, making hotel reservations, creating itineraries for tour (or cruise packages) and providing information about specific destinations.
 

How to start a travel agency business in Malaysia?

Starting a travel agency business in Malaysia follows the general company incorporation procedure. However, there are certain laws and regulations that differentiate the travel agency business from other types of business available in Malaysia. To summarise, below are a few points that could help anyone interested to start a travel agency in Malaysia.
 
1. Understand the laws and regulations

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia enforced the following acts and regulations in the tourism industry:

a) Tourism Industry Act 1992;

b) Tourism Industry (Tour Operating Business and Travel Agency Business) Regulations 1992;

c) Tourism Industry (Licensing and Control of Tourist Guides) Regulations 1992;

d) Tourism Industry (Licensing of Tourism Training Institutions) Regulations 1994;

e) Tourism Industry (Compounding of Offences) Regulations 1992;

f) Tourism Vehicles Licensing Act 1999; and

g) Tourism Vehicles (Licensing and Control of Tourism Vehicles) Regulations 2000.
 
2. Get the appropriate licenses and permit

Companies setup in the tourism industry in Malaysia is required to obtain several business permits before they start doing business. The ministry has issued several guidelines and checklists to ease the hassles and red tape involved in the application procedures. You can also read on the frequently asked questions in licensing from their website to get a clear view of the procedures.

Here are a few steps you need to do throughout your application:

a) Make sure you have all the travel agency related guidelines on your fingertips and try to go through the guidelines from cover to cover.

b) Secondly, you need to fill in Form 1 – Application for Licence to Carry on or Operate a Tour Operating Business and Travel Agency Business and submit it together with a processing fee of RM100.00. Several documents must be submitted as stated in the application checklist.

c) If you are applying for an excursion bus/hire and drive car licence, make sure you have completed Form 1 – New Application for Excursion Bus Licence or Form 2 – New Application for Hire and Drive Car Licence with a processing fee of RM50.00. You are also required to submit the documents as listed in the application checklist. You may refer to the guidelines to know more about the procedures and other documents needed for this application.
 
3. Register a company in Malaysia

Running a travel agency business is like doing any other business in the country. Another important thing to do before you kick start any business plan is to get your company registered and incorporated. In addition to this, you will need a corporate account for your business transaction, a good accounting service as well as tax accounting service to make sure your business is running smoothly.

On a final note, starting a travel agency business from scratch is not easy. If you plan to start one and you are unsure of the procedures, be it the company incorporation, or licensing application, feel free to contact us today!