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, in partnership with Traditional Owners. 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.
The 2011 tour operator licensing fee regulations sunset on 28 June 2021 and are being replaced by two-year interim fee regulations with no change to the fee structure. This in effect freezes use fees at the low rates set in 2011 to allow time for industry to recover from the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Updated fact sheets to include indexed annual tour operator licensing fees for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 are now available.
Updated licensing templates for land managers are now available.
A policy review of ‘tour operator and activity providers on public land’ is about to recommence. Further information will be coming soon.
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.
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.
Templates for land managers
Page last updated: 09/07/21