Set Up a Travel Agency Business in the United Kingdom

How to Set Up a Travel Agency Business in the UK 3E Accounting looks at how to set up a travel agency business in the UK as global travel restarts.

One of the most telling impacts of the global pandemic was seen in the travel and tourism industry. Travel literally came to a standstill the world over. Statistics from the Mobility Market Outlook indicate a drop of 42.1% from 2019 to 2020. Despite travel bans and restrictions, the global revenue in this industry was almost USD400 billion in 2020. As travel once again opens worldwide, this industry is set to buzz once more. Read on to find out how to set up a travel agency business in the UK.


Travel as a Trade

The very first travel agency was Cox & Kings, established in 1758 and headquartered in the UK and India. More than 200 years later, it still has a strong industry presence, proving that this is a resilient market indeed. A travel agency is a business selling travel-related activities, products, and services. They act as agents of suppliers of such services and products, which includes airlines, hotels, resorts, etc. Hence, a travel agency can issue airline tickets, book hotel accommodation and tours, arrange transfers or car rentals, etc.

After you have done your due diligence, including writing up a brilliant business plan, you should consider your business modal. The UK has several different types of travel agency structures, classified according to how they operate and the industry they focus on. These include leisure or business and online or call centre based.

Travel agencies can also be independent, multiples or maniples. Multiples and maniples, respectively, indicate a chain of retail outlets, usually an MNC and an agency with many branches. Some of these offer franchises opportunities with training and support.

Start-up costs can be relatively low for a travel agency business. Business solution firms such as 3E Accounting can help you figure out how much start-up capital you will need. At the barest minimum, a sole trader with rented desk space and a website can start doing business. For a more corporate look, consider registering a limited company with Companies House and renting a serviced office.

You may also need to consider investing in travel-related technology, which includes booking and reservation systems. If you are issuing airline travel tickets, you will need to be licensed with the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing or ATOL. This is a licensing scheme from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.

If you also plan to provide two or more services, such as bookings and tours, you will need to be PTR compliant. This is the UK’s Package Travel Regulations and is fully explained on the Government website for package travel directives.

If you need more information on how to set up a travel agency business in the UK, get in touch with 3E Accounting. Along with our affiliates and partners, we provide decades of tired and tested industry experience in innovative business solutions. As company formation and compliance experts, we will ensure that your business starts on the right note. Contact 3E Accounting today and speak to our team of professionals on customising a business solution that works best for you.

How to Set Up a Travel Agency Business in the UK