How to start a travel agency in Kolkata

A travel agency help us plan our holidays, prepare us for all kinds of travel – be it work, leisure or education – and give us the right advice with tickets, visas, flight information, hotels and destination information. 

They eliminate all hassles that may arise while travelling. 

The new generation of travellers prefers using online platforms to collect travel-related information and book tickets and holiday packages. 

However, having a real travel advisor is always more reassuring in this day and age of uncertainty. 

It is especially useful when those with great travel experience start their travel agency in Kolkata, sharing their passion and love for travel and helping travellers with first-hand experience. 

Travel agencies have now evolved into travel management companies that act as advisors and include services beyond tickets and package bookings. Travel agencies are now your real-time travel advisors who understand your passion and plan a holiday to match that. 

Such an agency then takes up the role of an authentic partner. 

What Type of services do travel agencies provide in Kolkata?

Going online and booking tickets is easy; everyone can do it with just a few clicks on the screen. Travel Agencies provide their customers with a little more than what they can already do on their own. The role of most agencies has been diversified into some critical areas: 

Travel Management

Travel management services would include managing and reserving transport tickets, finding the right accommodations, booking car rentals, and so on.

New technology and the various tools available today have also vastly changed travel management – prices can now be compared easily and strategies can be adopted on the basis of the best price to help travellers make the best choice. 

 Passenger assistance 

Travel agencies now step up efforts to address all passenger needs – be it assisting in an early check-in, choosing seats on an airline, booking wheelchairs and meals, coordinating the pick up at the destination, upgrading rooms, assuring repatriation at the time of emergency, addressing the loss of luggage or critical documents. Travel agents are now real-time assistants who help with many unforeseen adversities and more. 

Consulting 

Travel agencies are your one-stop shop for all consultations prior to travel or booking a holiday. They educate you about the customs of the country one is visiting, recommend food and places to see, plan an itinerary, advise on costs, travel policies, health insurance and so on. 

 Technology 

Travel agencies use the best technology to provide you with the best option for booking flights, trains or hotels. They also use digital and social platforms to help you stay abreast of travel news or share great travel deals with you.  

Basic Requirements to open a Travel agency in Kolkata 

The travel and tourism industry is one of the major industries in India and plays a very significant role as an employment generator in the country. 

Various selections of business entities are available to those willing to start a Tour and Travel agency in Kolkata. Entrepreneurs generally prefer Private Limited companies as they can acquire a lot of benefits and subsidies from the government in this way.

Business enterprises like Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) to gradually build the business or to carry it out on a part-time basis. Limited Liability Partnerships pose no obligation for audit unless the turnover of the company is beyond INR 40 lakhs annually. So, this is ideal for businesspersons who are looking to gain first-hand experience in venturing into the Tour and Travel agency industry. It can be said that a business enterprise that offers limited liability status, along with a separate legal entity status, shall be perfect for a travel agent.

GST Registration for the Travel Business

GST Registration is important in order to collect GST from customers on the services incurred through the business.

•5% GST is applicable on tour packages.

18% GST on Commission income on air tickets and other standalone services.

Trademark Required for the Travel Business

Registering your company as a trademark provided under the Intellectual Property Rights laws in India is an important step to obtain the right to a unique name and logo for your travel agency in Kolkata.

Becoming a Government of India approved Travel Agent in Kolkata

Even though registration as a Government of India-approved Travel Agent is not compulsory by law, it is useful and provides recognition to the travel agent. The objective of acquiring the status of Travel Agent or Agency (TA) recognition is to boost the quality standard and service in the tourism industry. 

For becoming a Government of India recognized travel agent, a few requirements are required to be satisfied, including capital investment, the number of employees working for the company, maintenance of office space, and some other stipulations. An application should also be made to the Ministry of tourism in the prescribed format to become a Government of India-approved Travel Agent.

IATA Agent

A Travel agency can also seek approval from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This travel Association offers several training methods and professional development services for travel agencies. IATA accreditation is a desirable seal of approval recognized worldwide. It is useful for a travel agency or a travel agent specializing in international ticketing. 

Why should you start your own travel agency in Kolkata?

Post COVID-19 travel is booming, and this is a good time to start a travel agency if you have the right infrastructure, funds and talent to work with. Make sure you know enough about the travel trade and have a good network of suppliers to help you. 

A recent report titled ‘Outbound Travel and Tourism – An Opportunity Untapped’ by Nangia Andersen LLP in association with FICCI highlights the up-and-coming Indian travel market. It states that outbound trips from India will surpass $42 billion by 2024, and the government could bring about certain policy changes to boost this growing market.

So there is huge potential in this sector and much room to diversify and expand in such an industry if you have the right mindset, ideas, and hard work. 

Although a competitive market, with the right attitude and determination, it is possible to run a travel agency in Kolkata successfully that caters to all kinds of needs of travellers and tourists who wish to explore the world