How to become travel agent or start a travel agency with almost zero capital in the Philippines?


How to become travel agent or start a travel agency with almost zero capital in the Philippines?

Probably you have heard a friend or relative earning couple of thousand while they are traveling around the Philippines or working with there corporate job. They're able to profit 30K, 50K, or even 100K monthly being a tour guide or travel agent. Yes, they exist! And I know exactly who is this guy, you have heard about "Ai StarLegends Adventures Travel and Tours" on Facebook and seen-zone her post, I guess. 


She's not a scammer, I guarantee you she will do the job to book you for your International and Domestic flight. Yes, this guy become a travel agent and start her travel agency with almost zero capital. Simply she found clients who is willing to pay her service that much. Now, if you want to earn extra five figure cash monthly, then educate yourself with the basics, standards, and need to know of getting your first highly profitable online travel and tour agency.

What are the basics requirements to start travel agency in the Philippines?

basics requirements to start travel agency in the Philippines

For those young people and entrepreneurs who wish to jump into travel business here in the Philippines, start up capital for a travel agency is pretty affordable. Here are the requirements;
  1. Choose a Business Name
  2. Look for a location
  3. Register to Department of Tourism

How to choose an awesome name for your travel agency.

How to name your travel and tour business

The name of your travel agency is one of the most important factors of your success. Therefore, this first step is really challenging. For others, they do it quick, why most business fails.

Based on my research, there are set of rules for naming your travel agency that will help pick the right business name. According to entrepreneur.com, "How to Name a Business" when choosing a business name, whether it's an online business or the traditional bric-and-mortar business you need to follow this do's and don’ts for naming your travel agency;

Do's :
  1. Do choose a travel business name that is attracted and appealing to all kind of customers of all ages.
  2. Do pick names that is easy to memorizes, the one that touches your client’s emotions.
  3. Do select a comforting and familiar name that will responds to the emotions of the travelers.


Dont's:
  1. Don’t settle on the confusing and long name.
  2. Stay away using an abbreviation that no one can understand other than you are.


Now that you have the idea and guide line on how to choose a travel agency name, what you should do next? For you not to find yourself wandering in nowhere, I made the following list for you;

1. Conduct a Brainstorming Session
Conduct a Brainstorming Session

This is the fun moment, ideas and creativity pop out endlessly. Try to write down all that idea and outlined for you to come up with the right decision later. Don't force it, don't rush it, give it a time. If you came up with what you think a potential travel agency name, leave it for a while and do something else or just travel around. Let your idea flew for a while and come back after a few days to review it. Because, the final name you choose today, will stay with you forever if you succeed.

2. Check Availability
Check Availability

After you choose the best name for your travel agency, I am pretty sure that you want to check it to make sure that it isn't taken yet. As part of business continuity on business name registration, you may proceed to the nearest Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Office or Negosyo Center. Search the public access portal to the online processing of Business Name Registration. You should also run search on Google, Yahoo, and other search engine for your travel agency name for your future domain name.

However, if your find out that you’re super duper awesome name is already trademarked by other party. Then go back and conduct another set of brainstorming.

3. Register It
Register It

After availability check and you found out that your potential business name for your travel agency is still available, then proceed to the nearest DTI Office or Negosyo Center and submit your application form together with the requirements as prescribed in the Department Administrative Order (DAO) 18-07.  Get a business name registration forms and accomplish it on your visit. Registering a business name with DTI is the first step to becoming a sole proprietor as it gives you the sole right to use the business name.

What are the requirements in registering a business name in the Philippines?

What are the requirements in registering a business name in the Philippines?

  1. Two (2) copies of duly accomplished application form signed by registrant.
  2. Presentation of original copy of one photo-bearing national issued Identification Document (ID) with signature.
  3. Payment of registration fee plus documentary stamp tax.

  • Barangay                 PHP 200.00
  • City/Municipality PHP 500.00
  • Regional                 PHP 1,000.00
  • National                 PHP 2,000.00


Foreign applicants shall be required to present the original and a clear certified copy of the Certificate of Authority to engage in business in the Philippines per Republic Act No. 7042 as amended (Foreign Investment Act), Republic Act No 8762 (Retail Trade Liberalization Law) or other similar laws, if applicable. ( Department Administrative Order 2010-08 Section 6)

Since DTI online system is currently down, bear in mind that somehow in the future you may register your business name either by visiting the DTI regional or provincial office or Negosyo Center nearest you or apply online through the Business Name Registration System (BNRS). If applying through walk-in, you may download the business name registration forms for you to print and accomplish them prior to your visit.

How to choose good location for your tour and travel agency?

How to choose good location for your travel agency?

Like your travel agency name, location is also important in your success if you plan a combination of online and bric-and-mortal setup. Unless you are planning a home-based travel agency, which is suitable for this post title “How to become travel agent and start a travel agency with almost zero capital”. 

However, like any other business out there, tour and travel agency has its own different requirement and it is important to address and priorities it when deciding on the location. So I conducted a research by asking people from aged 20’s to 40 and I found out that they are comfortable insides the malls, for security and parking reason I guess. Therefore, here are some tips to start your travel and tour business;

  1. Do pick an accessible and easy to find location for your tour and travel agency
  2. Do settle at the heart of the city, inside the mall is most recommended because most of your potential clients are mall goers and thrill seekers.
  3. Do choose location near mall amusement park, cinema and food court.


How to Register Tour & Travel Business to Department of Tourism

Department of Tourism LOGO

This part is for the big boys, because among other requirements, to register your travel agency you need proof of at least five hundred thousand pesos capitalization. But for starter you are not required to do this. Perhaps in the future, I guess.

Why should you need to register to DOT?
Pursuant to the authority vested in the Department of Tourism (DOT) by Republic Act no. 9593, otherwise known as the Tourism Act of 2009 dated May 12, 2009, on the mandatory accreditation of Primary Tourism Enterprises and voluntary accreditation of Secondary Tourism Enterprises, the National Accreditation Standards for Travel and Tour Agencies are hereby promulgated to implement the intent and purpose of the said Republic Act.

What are the Standards for travel and tour agencies in the Philippines?

DEFINITION OF TERMS: 
Tour Operator - Any person or entity engaged in the business of Inbound or Local Tour Operation. It's also pertain to an organizing and /or conducting tours as well as making online reservations, arranging and booking for transportation and accommodation for a fee, commission, or any form of  remuneration.

Travel Agency - Any person or entity engaged in the business of providing travel-related services such as transportation or accommodation reservations/bookings, documentation of travel papers, sale and/or issuance of tickets and selling of outbound tours for a fee, commission, or any form of remuneration.

Travel and Tour Agency - A primary tourism enterprise regularly engaged in both Tour Operator and Travel Agency services.

Online Travel and Tour Agency - Any person or entity whose operations are solely conducted through websites and other online platform dedicated to travel and tour operations.

Type of Travel and Tour Operations

Inbound Tour - A tour of groups/individuals to the Philippines or any place within the country and any part thereof. 

Local Tour - A tour of residents of the Philippines within the country. 

Outbound Tour - A tour of individuals/groups outside the Philippines.

Requirements for DOT Accreditation for a Tour and Travel Agency?

Who may apply?
  1. Resident Filipino citizen registered as single or sole proprietorship.
  2. Partnership organized under Philippine Laws where in an at least 60% of its capital is owned by a Filipino citizen.
  3. Corporations organized under Philippine Laws. At least 60% of the subscribed common or voting shares of stock of which is owned by Filipino citizens and the composition of its Board of Directors being at least 60% Filipinos. In case of more than 40% foreign-owned Corporations, they shall have at least $200,000.00 in USD paid-in capital.
  4. Cooperative duly organized under Philippine Laws.


Mandatory Documentary Requirement for New Travel and Tour Business Applications
  1. Valid Mayor’s/Business Permit
  2. Proof of working capital 
  3. For Corporation or Partnership - ₱500,000.00 Paid-up partners capital
  4. For Single Proprietorship - Original copy of bank certification with cheque writer. *Under the name of the Company.
  5. For General Manager - Documents to prove a minimum of three (3) years managerial experience in travel and tour agency operations or proof of passing a Travel and Tour Agency Management Course or its equivalent.
  6. Notarized List of Names of all Officials and Employees with office designation and Nationality.


Requirements for Travel and Tour Business Renewal
  1. Valid Mayor’s/Business Permit
  2. Audited Financial Statements reflecting a minimum of  ₱500,000.00 working capital.


Additional Documentary Requirements for Renewal and New Application
  1. Affidavit executed by the General Manager declaring/acknowledging the existence of their branch offices.
  2. For foreign nationals, valid working permit (Alien Employment Permit) from the Department of Labor and Employment and valid visa from Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.
  3. For Airport Representatives, valid NBI Clearance and Certificate of Regular Employment.


Minimum Office Requirements for Tour and Travel Agency
  1. Commercial Area and/or building
  2. Easily identifiable and shall be used exclusively for the travel and tour operation business
  3. Furnished with basic furniture and equipment
  4. Minimum office floor area 18 square meters (except for Branch Office)
  5. Minimum of three (3) employees. General Manager, Reservation Officer and Tour or Product Development Officer
  6. Maintain a temperature between 20-25 degree year round except in areas where elevation is 2000 ft. above sea level.

ACCREDITATION FEES AND OTHER CHARGES

ACCREDITATION FEES AND OTHER CHARGES

Additional amount equivalent to 50% of the accreditation fee for renewals made after June 30 and another 100% shall be collected for every succeeding year thereafter. Renewal period is from April 1 to June 30.

Supervision of Travel and Tour Agencies

Main office accreditation
Should be accredited prior to the accreditation of the branch office.

Validity of Accreditation
Certificate of Accreditation is "VALID FOR 2 YEARS" provided that the required Mayor’s/Business permit and other pertinent documents shall be renewed upon expiration and shall be submitted to the Department.

Surrender of DOT Sticker
Upon renewal of accreditation.

Access of Department Representative to Agency's Office and Records
The DOT shall have access to an enterprise’s office and records during business hours for verification of compliance with the standards and requirements.

Surrender of DOT ID
The enterprise shall notify the Department of its officers and employees who have ceased to be employed from their company and shall surrender the officers’/employees’ ID cards within seven (7) days upon termination of employment.

Display of Accreditation Seal
The DOT Accreditation Sticker shall at all times be displayed in a conspicuous place of the establishment. Same shall be surrendered to DOT once the validity of accreditation expires.

Online Travel and Tour Agency
All online Travel and Tour Agencies applying for accreditation shall comply with all the basic requirements of a regular travel and tour agency as provided in Chapter II of this Rules.

Website Information
All Tour Operators, Travel Agencies and Travel and Tour Agencies with website shall comply with the following requirements. 
  1. Shall display the DOT Tourism Quality Seal and Accreditation Number with validity date on their website and in all of its advertisements, brochures and promotional materials; 
  2. Shall highlight or include Philippine tour destinations in their website;
  3. Shall display the correct and full contact information of the company on the “Contact Us” page or section; and
  4. All websites offering online payment schemes shall be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) Compliant and Encrypted with Valid Security Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate or use Online Banking Websites.


Dormancy
Withdrawn after appropriate warnings / notifications 30th and 45th day prior to dormancy.

Inspection of Establishment
Periodic Inspection - Done Annually or when Public Interest dictates. The DOT may send an inspection team to the establishment for the purpose of determining whether they are being kept and/or managed in a manner conformable to the standards set by DOT. Conducted at a reasonable time of the day with due regard and respect to the right of privacy of parties concerned.
Inspection Team - Shall accomplish a set of Inspection Checklist (IC). All deficiencies found, as well as the requirements complied with shall be noted on the checklist.
Inspection Report - Rendered within five (5) days from date of inspection.

Defects and Deficiencies Found During the Inspection
DOT shall issue a Notice of Deficiency addressed to the concerned Travel and Tour Agency informing the same of the violation or non-compliance of accreditation requirements and reasonable period within which to rectify such violation as found during the inspection.

If failed to remedy the defects or deficiencies within the agreed period of time, the Department shall deny the application or revoke the Certificate of Accreditation issued to the Establishment.

Use of Tour Coordinator or Tour Escort
Tour Coordinators and Foreign Tour Escorts duly recognized by the DOT whose function is to accompany tourists shall not act as Tour Guides. 

Presence of Tour Coordinators and Foreign Tour Escorts may be allowed provided there is an accompanying DOT-accredited tour guide.

Schedule of Fines and Penalties

This is in accordance with SECTION 39 of Rebuplic Act 9593. The DOT, at its own instance, shall revoke/cancel the accreditation of an accredited travel and tour agency which violates any of the provisions of these Rules and Regulations without prejudice to the imposition of other applicable penalties under Philippine laws.

The DOT shall likewise issue a Notice of Violation to the concerned LGU for appropriate sanction such as but not limited to revocation/cancellation of issued licenses/permit or closure of the establishment found to have violated the terms of their accreditation.

Denial of Accreditation
  1. Making any false declaration or statement or making use of any such declaration or statement or any document containing the same or committing fraud or any act of misinterpretation for the purpose of obtaining the grant of accreditation.
  2. Failure to comply with the standards and requirements for accreditation.
  3. Has pending/unresolved complaints filed to the Department or other concerned agencies.
  4. Any other act or omission that works against the interest of the tourism industry.


Suspension / Revocation / Cancellation of Accreditation, or Closure of Business
  1. Unauthorized transfer and/or reproduction of Accreditation certificate, stickers, IDs or any document issued by the Department of Tourism.
  2. Gross and evident bad faith in dealing with clients/fraudulent solicitation of business.
  3. Tolerance of gross misconduct, discourtesy, dishonesty or misrepresentation committed by any of the operator’s officers or employees against its clients to the deterrent of the tourism industry.
  4. Employment or hiring of non-DOT accredited tourism front-liners or engaging the services of non-DOT accredited tourism establishments/vehicles except in areas where there are no DOT accredited front liners/trainers/vehicles/establishments available.
  5. Failure to specify and include in any form of advertisement the DOT Tourism Quality Seal and Accreditation Number with Expiry date/validity.
  6. False, deceptive or misleading advertisement by Philippine mail or in commerce by print, radio, television or other medium of advertisement to the public.
  7. Promoting, facilitating or conducting activities involving drug-related transactions and any form of exploitation of women and children.
  8. Non-settlement of the complaint filed against the establishment with the Department.
  9. Any other case/complaint filed against the establishment outside the Department.


Fines and Penalties
First Offense - Six (6) months suspension and/or fine not less than Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000.00), as the case maybe.
Second Offense - One (1) year suspension and be subject to a fine not less than Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (₱75,000.00).
Third Offense - Revocation/Closure of Business and subject to a fine of at least or not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000.00).

Tourism Advisories
  • Complete identification of the pertinent tourism enterprise;
  • Location of the entity;
  • Its registered owner or proprietor and the business address;
  • The specific term or terms of accreditation violated; and
  • The statement that the advisory shall only be lifted upon continued compliance of the enterprise with the terms of accreditation.


Issuance of Additional Circulars / Orders
The DOT shall, whenever necessary, issue additional Circulars/Orders for a more effective implementation of there rules and regulations.

Now that you already equipped with the basics, standard and need to know of getting your first highly profitable online travel and tour agency here in the Philippines. Believe me there is no hidden method, special technique, or unique regimen successful people possess that make them successful. You're became successful travel agent when you start to take a first step now.

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