Want To Know The Journey Of Registering Your Travel Business?

How-to Operations August 16, 2018

India has seen a sharp spike of startups over the last decade. Thanks to the ease of doing business through technology. According to a recent report, India is set to host 10,500 startups by 2020 making it one of the largest ecosystems for startups. Well, good luck to those who thought that the startup ecosystem is just a bubble waiting to burst.  In fact, the travel and tourism industry will be adding $11,512.9 billion* to global GDP by 2027. So, everyone in the travel startup space is looking to share a part of the pie.

(*As per a 2017 report by the World Travel And Tourism Council)


Here are some stats that’ll open your eyes:


95% of consumers search online before making a travel purchase. Now that’s an insight

Social media affects purchase decisions of 48% consumers

41% consumers make a purchase after receiving a promotional offer/discount

25% consumers make a purchase after receiving it over SMS

Are You Missing The Point?

Though, there’s something, which is mission critical even before you get that website up. That’s actually registering your business and making it legal and operational. After all, you don’t want to make headlines in the tourism industry for all the wrong reasons.

So How Do You Start Your Travel Business?

There are plenty of ways to start a travel company. The question is whether you want to go the traditional way or do it the smart way (more on that later). First, let’s look at the traditional way of registering a travel company. The first thing you’d do is contact your CA and set up an appointment. Then he would ask you for a bunch of documents time and again to submit and then give you an approximate date of registering your company. Then the wait starts for you. In this process, two things do not go in your favour. That’s convenience and accountability.

Remember, we mentioned a smart way for travel company registration. There are plenty of startups out there including those that would be a one-stop shop solution for all your legal and financial needs to start your travel business in India.

There are companies like:

These companies ensure that you can start your travel company without running around to multiple places for documents. After all, you have a busy life and are on the go. Through these companies, you are saving time and money. And we all know time is money. So now that we’ve made a case for going online, here’s another important question:


Nature Of Travel Business To Register

That totally depends on how you want to start your travel company. A majority of travel entrepreneurs start solo, while others usually team up with family or friends to begin with. Very rarely people start with a full-fledged travel company. 


Does A Sole Proprietorship Make Sense For You?


Yes, it does. In fact, it is the easiest way to start your travel company. That’s because you’d be managing the whole show as the principal decision maker and owner of your travel company. The best part is that you could have a proprietorship company up and running in a fortnight. No wonder, it is the most popular way to start a business, particularly for new entrepreneurs and establishments.

Here are some of the pros of going solo or rather with Sole Proprietorships:

Get a head start

15 days is all you need to start a travel company. That includes your GST registration. It’s fairly a straightforward process. All you need is a:

  • PAN card
  • Identity proof  
  • Address proof
  • Shops & Establishments Act Registration
  • Current Bank Account

And you’re almost done.  

Less compliance. More ease.

The compliance required for running your travel business or tour operator business is uncomplicated. All you’ve got to do is file the taxes of your service or profession.

Easy on the pocket

Not only do you require less paperwork and compliances for Sole Proprietorship firms, but you have to pay less to get started. One can start with as low as Rs. 1,499. Now, that’s even less than a meal at a restaurant in most urban cities in India.

Tax is on your side

Since you are the sole owner of a travel company, you do not need to show a distinction between your income and the company’s income. Therefore, you’d be taxed according to the rates applied to personal income tax rates, and not corporate tax. That means, no hiring expensive auditors. You can breathe easy. 

How Do You Go About Registering The Company?

You must be thinking that you can do it yourself. But first, this is all that you have to go through:


It ends up something like this:


Registering a Company - Ministry of Corporate Affairs


Not your idea of forming a company, right?


There’s a better way to do it by using online platforms such as Vakil Search, Venture Easy and IndiaFilings.

Let’s look at Vakil Search

A floating box with a call-to-action window  


Registering Your Business on Vakil Search - Call to Action Window


They even have a chat window powered with a Bot called TARS to assist you 


Registering Your Business on Vakil Search - Chat Window


The chat window is extremely user-friendly by clearly defining the special offers and options in the chat window 


Registering Your Business on Vakil Search - Ask a Question



Apart from the initial form and chat window on the right side, there is also the option for the user to ask a question with their name and phone number.Vakil Search arranges for a call back to the user to answer their queries.

Once you choose an option, a representative from Vakil Search will send you a dashboard for all the following details.


Registering Your Business on Vakil Search - Dashboard


Make sure you fill in all your details and make the payment. Next, wait for a few days and voila, you are all set to roll. Therefore, sites like these become a one-stop shop solution for starting your travel company.  

Thinking About The Paid-up Capital?


There is none in the case of the Sole Proprietorship as is the case with the One Person Company or Private Limited Company which is usually Rs. 1 lakh.


Are There Any Downsides?


Though a Sole Proprietorship is fairly easy to set up, it’s not all rosy when your business suffers losses. That’s because Sole Proprietorship comes with the unlimited liability clause, which means in case the business goes into a loss, the business, as well as the personal assets of the proprietor, can be used to pay debts or recover losses. That can seriously dent a proprietor’s financial goals. That’s also one of the major reasons why it becomes difficult to raise funds or lend funds to assist sole proprietors.


What Is A One Man Company?


2013 saw a new form of business introduced according to the Companies Act. It was brought in to help sole proprietors and new entrepreneurs who would like to start a business with limited liability and yet have the business as a separate legal entity. Want to know the other features and differences between OPC and Sole Proprietorship, this will help.

What If Two People Or More Wish To Start A Travel Business Together?


That’s always a question running in an entrepreneur’s mind especially if he or she wants to start the travel business with a friend or family member. For this modus operandi, we’d suggest you register your tour operator or travel business with a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).


What Is An LLP?

It is a legal corporate entity in which a firm enjoys the partnership with limited liability yet the business has all the features of a company. It means, the best of both worlds when it comes to a partnership and a limited company. That’s because a partner does not take responsibility for the decisions and the wrongdoings of other partners. Plus, they enjoy limited liability when it comes to their business.


What About Expansion?

Yes, we can understand a lot of entrepreneurs have registered a travel company but are looking to take the next step of expansion. After all, everyone would like to make it big when it comes to their business. For these entrepreneurs, it is time for them to register their company as a Private Limited Company.


What Is A Private Limited Company?

A private limited company is a legal corporate entity with a limited liability incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013. It should have a minimum of two directors and a maximum of 15 directors. A director can also be a shareholder. It also allows foreign nationals, foreign entities or NRIs to be the Directors as well as shareholders.


What Are The Advantages Of A Private Limited Company?

Having your own travel business private limited means you’ll get the boost and funds available to scale-up your business. That’s because, there will be shareholders as well as investors who’d take interest in your company provided on your profitability and returns. This means some serious investment and opportunities to see your travel business take-off.


OK, Now That You Have Registered, What Next?

Register For GST


Yes, that’s a very valid question for starting a travel company in the new GST era. The Goods or Services Tax is applicable to you if you have an annual turnover of more than 20 lakhs. Since we are also talking about taking your business online, you will also require a GST number for selling travel services or products online. Again, it’s a hassle-free and paper-free process as the Government of India has made it easy to apply for GST. There is even a GST portal.



GST registration can be done via the GST portal. All you’ll need is:

  1. PAN card, Photo and Aadhar Card of the proprietor
  2. Address proof of business (Electricity bill/ rent agreement)
  3. A copy of your bank statement, which clearly shows your bank account number and IFSC code

Normally, the GST number is received within 3-4 days of submitting the application.

Get Approved By Government Of India

While it is not mandatory to be approved by the Government of India to be a travel agent, it has its advantages. It means you are maintaining certain checklists and quality standards. Plus, you become a credible travel business or tour operator, which is important in the eyes of the international tourist. To become an approved travel agent or tour operator, you’ll need to apply to the Ministry of Tourism with certain information like capital invested, a certain number of staff employed, maintenance of minimum office space and other stipulations.


Are There Any Guidelines From The Government For Entrepreneurs Who’d Like To Register Their Travel Business?

Yes, the government has put together certain guidelines for inbound tour operators. You can view them here.


Is There Any Tour Operator Body In India That Is Helpful For A New Tour Operator Business?


Tour Operator Body - Logo

Yes, there is. There is an Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India or ADTOI as it is called. While starting a tour operator business, it makes perfect sense to be a part of this organization. There is also the Indian Association of Tour Operators or IATO, which is also an apex body of inbound tour operators. Here are some of the advantages of becoming a member of IATO.  And you have ATOAI, that stands for Adventure Tours Operators Association Of India. If you cater to airline ticketing getting registered with IATA (International Air Transport Association) is a must.

Start Generating Revenue

We have shared a step-by-step process with specific guidelines to help you get your travel start-up the initial formalities and recognition to perform business. However, one thing is clear, for any travel business to even survive, they have to get online.


How Can We Say This?


Vacation Labs - Homepage


Vacation Labs has helped more than 200 tour operators and travel companies go online from scratch. That too, in a short span of time. We are a testimony to their start-up experience and success. So, once you get your company registered, don’t look further. Contact us to get your travel website up and running in no time with powerful travel commerce capabilities. One thing is clear, for any travel business to even survive, they have to get online. Here are some of the fundamentals of setting up your tour operator business online. If you’d like to get started or want to know anything else, we are waiting.


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