Licensed commercial tour operators and recreational activity providers play an important role in helping people access, enjoy and learn about Victoria's public land, making them key contributors to state and regional tourism economies.

The majority of licensed commercial tours and activities occur in national and state parks, managed by Parks Victoria and state forests that DELWP manage. Parks Victoria issues and administers tour operator licensing on our behalf including on Victorian state waters and inland waterways. Visit Parks Victoria.

Commercial tourism and recreation activity also occurs on land managed by delegated committees of management under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 (including councils) and Alpine Resort Management Boards. Tour operator licences are granted directly by these bodies. You will need to contact the relevant land manager to apply for a tour operator licence. If you are unsure who the land manager is, contact us on 136 186.

Discuss your planned activities with the land manager and the process involved in obtaining a licence. If you plan to conduct activities across multiple sites managed by different land managers, then you will need to obtain a licence from each.

Who needs a tour operator licence?

Latest news

June 2020 

  • Fact sheets have been updated to include indexed tour operator licensing fees for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 and information about coronavirus (COVID-19) related fee relief
  • The fact sheet ‘When does the new Australian Adventure Activity Standard apply to organised tours, activities and events on public land’ has been updated following the release of the new Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and related Good Practice Guides (GPGs)
  • For licensed tour operators looking for guidance on planning for coronavirus-related risks, the Outdoor Council of Australia (OCA) has produced a template to guide safety and risk management planning for issues posed by the current situation. It can be found at outdoorsvictoria.org.au/covid-19-management-plan-template-for-group-based-outdoor-activities-release/.

Policy and legislative framework

A policy update for tour operator licensing in 2018 provided for more opportunities to obtain long term licences and set standard rules and limits for an expression of interest (EOI) process applied to the competitive allocation of licences.

Policy statement update 2018 (PDF, 126.3 KB)

Policy statement update 2018 (DOCX, 266.0 KB)

Policy statement 2008 (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Tour operator licences are issued according to the act the public land is managed under. Public lands include land and waters managed by or on behalf of the Crown. The Crown Land Acts Amendment (Lease and Licence Terms) Act 2009 set a consistent legislative framework across the five public land management acts:

  • National Parks Act 1975
  • Forests Act 1958
  • Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978
  • Land Act 1958
  • Wildlife Act 1975.

The legislation states:

  • Public land managers may grant a tour operator licence for a period of up to 10 years
  • Public land managers must charge regulated statewide fees for a tour operator licence
  • Penalties apply for operating without a tour operator licence or for breaching conditions of a licence.

Page last updated: 19/06/20