How to set up a travel agency - everything you want to know!

Service Business

Entrepreneurs who dream of starting a travel agency should consider what services they want to provide. They can choose from:

  • organization of tourism (organization of tourist events, i.e. preparation and planning of trips),

  • tourism brokerage (performance of factual and legal activities at the client's request related to the conclusion of contracts for the provision of tourist services - signing hotel rental contracts, airline booking, etc.),

  • travel agency (permanent intermediation in concluding contracts for the provision of tourist services for tour operators holding permits in the country or for other service providers based in the country).

If the entrepreneur wants, he can conduct a wide range of activities with services in each of the above-mentioned areas. However, the most frequently chosen profile of a travel agency's activity is the provision of travel agent services. Mainly because this type of activity does not require an entry in the register of tour operators, as well as bank guarantees and insurance. The travel agent is also not obliged to keep a list of contracts or to regulate payments to the Tourist Guarantee Fund. Check the article on how to set up a travel agency.

Prerequisites for running a travel agency

When starting a business as a travel agent and tour operator, the entrepreneur is required to have appropriate insurance or a bank guarantee. These activities are also subject to entry in the register of tourism organizers and travel intermediaries kept by the voivodship marshal competent for the location of the seat or branch.

Acceptable forms of running a travel agency

When opening a travel agency, an entrepreneur may choose any type of business (subject to meeting the relevant conditions), except for a partner company (it applies only to liberal professions).

How to set up a travel agency?

Business activity in Poland can be conducted in the form of sole proprietorship, civil law partnership or commercial companies (regulated in detail by the provisions of the Commercial Companies Code).

Commercial companies can be divided into partnerships and capital companies. When deciding to establish these companies, one should register with the National Court Register kept by the district courts having jurisdiction over the registered office of the company being created.

On the other hand, sole proprietorship and civil law partnership must be registered through CEIDG.

PKD designation for a travel agency

As mentioned before, there are various activities connected with running a travel agency. Therefore, the PKD will be:

  • 79.11.A for the activities of travel agents,

  • 79.11.B for the activities of travel intermediaries,

  • 79.12.Z for the activities of tour operators.

The best form of taxation for a travel agency

The selection of the appropriate form of taxation depends on many factors, including the form of business and the planned amount of revenues and costs.

Travel agency and taxation on general principles

General rules are the simplest and most popular form of income taxation. It allows the taxpayer to pay:

  • 18% tax (reduced by the amount that reduces the tax) or

  • 32% (PLN 15,395.04 plus the excess over PLN 85,528 of the tax base).

When settling accounts on general principles, the taxpayer may reduce the tax amount by the allowances and deductions provided for in the Act (e.g. tax relief for children or Internet tax relief).

When taxing your business with the tax scale, you should pay attention to the amount that reduces the tax. Since 2017, there has been a change in the regulations regarding the amount reducing the tax and now its amount depends on the income earned.

If the taxpayer's income does not exceed PLN 85,528, the tax reduction amount will be PLN 556.02 per year. However, when the taxpayer's income exceeds PLN 85,528 (the second tax threshold), the income tax advances are not reduced by the amount that reduces the tax. The final amount of the tax reduction amount will be determined only when preparing the annual tax return.

Travel agency and flat tax

Regardless of the amount of income, the entrepreneur will pay 19% of the tax when settling the travel agency. The flat tax is definitely more profitable for taxpayers who obtain high income (not lower than PLN 100,000). Importantly, when taxing with a flat tax, you cannot settle accounts with your spouse or take advantage of tax reliefs.

A travel agency and a lump sum on recorded revenues

In lump sum taxation, an entrepreneur running a travel agency pays tax on the amount of income (without deducting tax deductible costs).The flat rate for travel agencies is 17%. When choosing lump-sum taxation, the taxpayer must know that hence he loses the right to settle accounts with his spouse and to a child allowance.

Travel agency and tax card

In the case of providing services in the field of a travel agent, travel broker or tour operator, you cannot tax your activities with a tax card.

Online accounting for a travel agency

When running a business settled on the basis of the Tax Book of Income and Expenses or the Income Register, entrepreneurs can use online accounting intended for independent bookkeeping. An example of a platform for independent accounting can be It is a much cheaper option than a traditional accounting office. The company's accounting service by an accounting office costs about PLN 150 per month. Compared to the standard price for access to the e-accounting application, which is on average PLN 33 net per month, the previous solution is definitely unfavorable.

Thanks to the platform, the owner of a travel agency can implement comprehensive management of his own business, including:

  • an invoicing program - enabling the issuing of all types of invoices for contractors in various languages ​​and currencies

  • sending e-declarations and SAF-T reports thanks to integration with the Ministry of Finance and e-ZUS

  • CRM module - used to manage relations with contractors or planning tasks in a travel agency

  • keeping records of employees' working time and their settlement

Travel agency - with or without VAT?

When running a travel agency, an entrepreneur may take advantage of the VAT exemption if his turnover during the tax year does not exceed PLN 200,000 excluding VAT. If the activity is established during the year, this limit should be calculated in proportion. Otherwise, the services provided by the travel agency are subject to VAT calculated at the rate of 23%. However, there is an exception to this rule. It is referred to in Art. 119 paragraph. 8 of the Act of March 11, 2004 on tax on goods and services:

art. 119 paragraph. 8. The Act on tax on goods and services:
If services purchased from other taxpayers for the direct benefit of the tourist are provided both within the territory of the European Union and outside it, then tourism services are taxed with the tax rate of 0% only in the part that applies to services provided outside the territory of the European Union. Importantly, tourist services can be settled under the so-called VAT margin procedures.

When providing services in a travel agency to natural persons who do not conduct business activity, if the turnover exceeds PLN 20,000, a cash register must be purchased. When purchasing a cash register, the taxpayer may take advantage of the tax relief for the purchase of a cash register.

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ZUS contributions for a travel agency

The entrepreneur must apply for insurance at ZUS no later than 7 days after setting up his business. He does it on the ZUS ZUA form, if the travel agency is his only title to insurance, or to ZUS ZZA, if he also works elsewhere.

Relief to start

Thanks to the start-up relief, a taxpayer starting a business has the option not to pay social security contributions (retirement pension, disability pension, accident, sickness) for 6 months from commencement of business activity. However, in order to be able to take advantage of the start-up relief, the entrepreneur must meet the following conditions:

  • be a natural person (i.e. a sole proprietor or a partner in civil partnerships)
  • starts business activity for the first time or resumes it after at least 60 months from the date of its last suspension or termination
  • does not perform activities for a former employer for whom they worked full-time in the current or previous calendar year and performed activities falling within the scope of their current activity
  • is not insured by KRUS

If a person starting a business meets the conditions and takes advantage of the statute relief, they will only be required to submit to ZUS a health insurance application on the ZZA form within 7 days of starting the business.

Preferential social security contributions

An entrepreneur who starts a business or the period of 6 months of start-up relief has passed, may take advantage of preferential ZUS contributions, which cover a period of 24 full months. The amount of ZUS contributions depends on the average salary in Poland. The basis for the amount of contributions for people who pay social contributions on a preferential basis is 30% of the minimum wage in a given year.

Business account for a travel agency

The regulations do not clearly define whether the entrepreneur must set up a separate company account. However, in the case of running a travel agency, keeping a separate company account seems to be necessary, taking into account the traffic on the account - payments from contractors, advances from customers, etc.

A company account can be opened in a bank of your choice - most of them have special offers of business accounts for entrepreneurs. It is worth getting acquainted with them and choosing the most advantageous one.

Accommodation conditions for a travel agency

Not all forms of running a business require an appropriate building or premises. One can include a travel agency, but it all depends on the scale of the company and the place where it is run. In the case of running a franchise of a large travel agency, you should rather think about a place in a large shopping mall or city center. However, in smaller tourist destinations you can meet travel agencies that share a window with an exchange office.

There are also even cheaper alternatives, i.e. virtual travel agencies. Of course, contrary to appearances, good website positioning and online advertising is not the cheapest, but entrepreneurs will lose all the additional costs associated with renting the premises. However, running a virtual office is associated with a certain risk - it must work long enough for enough traffic to run a profitable business.

Travel agency and GDPR

A future entrepreneur running a travel agency, in connection with the entry of new EU regulations, i.e. Regulation of the European Parliament and the EU Council 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46 / EC (in short: GDPR) on May 25, 2018, is obliged in particular to:

  1. ensuring an appropriate level of security of personal data processed, in accordance with the principles set out in the GDPR Regulation,
  2. performing obligations arising from the rights of persons to whom personal data relate,
  3. appointing a personal data protection officer (in a situation where the entity is obliged to do so pursuant to Article 37 (1) of the above-mentioned regulation).
  4. providing yourself, as the data controller, with the information indicated in the GDPR and information on how personal data will be processed (for what purpose) and on what legal basis.

Obligations, in connection with the GDPR, boil down to granting appropriate authorizations to persons who will have access to personal data (employees, contractors, etc.), signing contracts for entrusting the processing of personal data with third parties, obtaining from the person whose personal data are obtained, appropriate consent (if required by the GDPR) and informing such a person about their rights.

Marketing in a travel agency

Running a travel agency, just like any other service industry, is quite a tedious process. First, the entrepreneur has to invest a lot of time, nerves and money in advertising so that it slowly pays off. As mentioned before, it all depends on where you run your travel agency.

Marketing of a travel agency run in a large city

The competition is really fierce. Travel agencies have their own specificity and usually the largest number of customers should be expected in the summer - autumn season. Additionally, people go to travel agencies when they need to, so advertising in newspapers or on billboards does not make much sense. Of course, the best idea will be the Internet and the best possible office location.

Marketing of a small town travel agency

Despite the fact that smaller tourist towns may seem calmer, the fight for customers is often more fierce than in large agglomerations. We can meet travel agencies at every turn, so how can we break through and stay?

The offer and promotions are definitely important - for families with children, for larger groups. It is worth establishing cooperation with as many hotels or guesthouses as possible, where you can leave business cards or travel agency leaflets. The same goes for taxi drivers and coffee shops.

It is also worth taking advantage of the possibilities offered by internet portals, such as Here, the entrepreneur can set up a business card of his company free of charge, containing the most important information such as the address of the travel agency or opening hours. An additional benefit is the possibility of running a company blog. The owner of a travel agency can use it to describe the most interesting places in the world that he has checked and recommends.

However, as with any service activity, you should focus on the highest quality of services offered. Conclude contracts with proven hotels and carriers and make sure that everything is buttoned up to the last button. In this way, satisfied tourists will recommend our services to family and friends, and it is very possible that they will come back in a year.