Romania is a beautiful country and tourism is one business sector that offers important opportunities for investments. Tourists enjoy the natural landscape and the diversity of the relied, along with the fact that the country offers both mountain resorts and seaside resorts. The country’s history, kept alive by many beautiful castles and cities that maintain their medieval charm, Sighisoara or Sibiu, is also attractive to many foreigners who visit.
In recent years, medical/cosmetic tourism and dental tourism have also developed din Romania due to the lower process in this country compared to others in Western Europe. The quality of the services offered in private clinics in Bucharest and other large cities is a high one and some foreign patients can prefer to combine a necessary medical procedure with a holiday in a beautiful country.
The natural or adventure tourism, focused on the many beautiful landscapes, along with historical tourism and medical tourism are three important branches of the tourism sector in the country.
Foreign investors who decide to open a travel agency in Romania, as well as foreign travel agencies that wish to establish a Romanian branch, can rely on the services offered by our law firm in Romania. By working with us, foreign entrepreneurs will be able to start the business in the shortest amount possible and they will also benefit from the legal counseling services, much needed for first-time investors in the country, particularly in a regulated field like tourism, where special licenses are needed.
In this article, our lawyers in Romania highlight the main issues to consider when starting a travel business. For more detailed information, please reach out to us.
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Travel agencies in Romania
A travel agency is an organization that is specialized in travel services, it is a legal entity entitled to provide, organize and sell travel components or packages as an intermediary between the consumer and travel services providers (transportation companies, accommodation locations).
In Romania, there are two types of travel agencies:
- Tour Operators: this agencies sell and organize their own components and travel packages directly or through intermediaries
- Retail agencies: these are the intermediaries that sell the tour operators’ packages or components, according to their contract with the tour operator agency
The operational manager of the travel agency, no matter the type, must have an individual, full time labor contract that is registered at the employees register.
In addition, he needs to have a certificate after completing a management course, and a tourism patent specific for this position, or study diploma after graduating a tourism university or course.
Our team of lawyers in Romania can provide investors with more details about these two types and can offer ongoing assistance during the duration of the incorporation process.
Do you plan on buying the building in which the headquarters of the travel agency will be based? Our lawyers can give you complete details about the steps for buying property in Romania (apartments, houses, offices), and we can also provide legal representation in front of the seller and the Romanian authorities if you cannot be present in the country during the entire duration of the purchase phase.
How to open a travel agency in Romania?
First of all you need a tourism license, a document that is issued by the central public institution that is responsible for tourism.
This document attests your capacity, or the person in charge, to sell travel services at regulated standards of safety and quality for the final client.
The economic operator must submit his request at the central public tourism institution, before starting to conduct the travel agency, as it is not authorized to sell travel services without this license.
In order to obtain this certificate, you need to submit the following documents listed below by our Romanian lawyers:
- The company certificate: released by the Trade Register that show the NACE codes regarding the type of travel agency and the authorization to conduct these activities
- A valid insurance policy: on reimbursement for repatriation costs or amounts paid to purchase travel services by the tourist, in case of bankruptcy or insolvency – copy. This policy must be valid for one year and cover the amount of 10.000$ for retailers and 50.000$ for tour operators.
- Proof of operational headquarters: a lease contract or owner proof of the space in which the agency will operate – copy
- Registration: proof of registration in the General Registry of Employees of the employment contract, and the documents showing the professional training of the operational manager
- Record proof: fiscal record certificate showing that no offenses sanctioned by financial law or customs laws were applied to shareholders, associates, legal entity, or the manager of the travel agency
In addition to the documents mentioned above, applicants also need to prepare a standard affidavit as per Annex 6 from Order no 65/2013.
Our team of attorneys in Romania is able to provide investors with complete details about the required documents for licensing. We can also help represent foreigners in relation to the Romanian Ministry of Tourism. With a power of attorney, one of our lawyers will be able to make all of the needed submissions in your name. The licensing procedure does require a number of documents and foreign nationals may find that the procedure is somewhat laborious (and made more difficult by the fact that the documents need to be submitted in Romanian). Our team is able to assist in preparing both the company registration documents as well as the documents for licensing. We will also help with any needed translations.
Most investors who are interested in company formation in Romania, for the purpose of starting a tourism company or one in another business field, will choose to open the SRL, the private limited liability company. Its main advantages are the following:
- Simple registration: the SRL can be incorporated in approximately three days when all of the documents are in order.
- Multiple NACE codes: the company can have a primary activity, as per the chosen NACE code, as well as many other secondary activities.
- Low capital: the minimum share capital required to open this business form is 200 lei (approximately 42 euros).
- Limited liability: the founders of the company are only liable to the extent of the capital they invest in the business.
- Taxation: the tax regime for microenterprises includes a 3% tax and even a 1% tax for qualifying companies.
One of our lawyers in Romania can provide more details about the taxation regime for micro-companies, which allows for one of the lowest taxes for companies in the EU. The regular corporate income tax is 16%.
Foreign economic operators in Romania
If you are an economic operator based in the European economic area and have the authorization to perform specific activities of travel agencies in your state, you do not need to get a travel license in order to provide travel services in cross-border regime.
You can develop your activities under the license, authorization or equivalent issued by your origin country by submitting the appendix no. 15 of the Order no. 65/2013 to the central institution responsible for tourism in Romania.
Our Romanian lawyers have helped many foreign investors set up companies in the country, in various business fields. If you are interested in opening a travel agency, our team can provide complete assistance for opening the branch of a travel agency.
We remind investors that a branch is an extension of the parent company and the foreign legal entity is entirely responsible for the debts and obligations of its Romanian branch.
As per the statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism, the number of travel agencies and companies in the sector was as follows:
- there are 2,111 registered travel agencies (last updated on 18.10.2019);
- there are 3 economic operators that provide cross-border tourism services (with tourism licenses issued in Germany, Hungary, and Austria).
- 1 tourism agency has had its license withdrawn in 2019.
Please reach out to our Romanian law firm for more information about the requirements in the tourism sector and for complete assistance during the formation of a company.
For the Romanian version of this article, please check Deschide O Agentie De Turism In Romania.
Darie, Manea and Associates can help you in the process of starting up a travel agency. Our team is commited to meet your expectations and ease the procedure that this matter requires.
Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information.