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 we 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 licenses 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.
June 2018 - A policy update, revised competitive allocation guidelines and updated fact sheets for tour operator licensing are now available.
The majority of tour operator and recreational activity provider licences for access to public lands in Victoria are issued on a non-exclusive, non-competitive basis. However, in some circumstances a public land manager needs to restrict the number of licences available at a particular site or for a specific activity, to protect natural or cultural values, or visitor safety.
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.
Attachment C. Template EOI evaluation matrix 2018 (Excel, 40.5 KB)
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.