Becoming a Licensed Tour Operator
The Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) has introduced “Commercial Operations Licences” (COL) for any business being conducted along the Kokoda Track Corridor. Currently the COL only applies to Kokoda Track Tour Operators.
Trek permits are the only legal way in which trekkers can walk the Kokoda Track. These permits can only be purchased by Licensed Tour Operators or individuals not carrying out a commercial operation.
Licensed Tour Operators provide a guaranteed minimum standard of service and experience that includes:
- First aid training and equipment
- Carrying a tuned VHF radio and / or a satellite phone
- Comply with PNG law and regulations
- Advertise their maximum group size
- Guaranteeing to respect the local culture and land ownership
- A duty of care to their staff (porters) with a maximum pack weight of 22.5kgs and provision of adequate food, equipment and shelter
A COL is a minimum standard and all tour operators are encouraged by the KTA to provide an experience to trekkers, which is above the minimum. The KTA encourages all operators to adhere to the industry-driven “Kokoda Track Code of Conduct” that provides an enhanced experience and conditions.
Any operator undertaking treks along the Kokoda Track without a COL will be stopped by KTA Rangers. Unlicensed operators do not provide any benefit to local communities; have no obligation to provide safety equipment or risk management for their clients and have no obligations to their porters.
When researching a tour operator, ask if they have a Commercial Operations Licence and their promotional material should feature the COL logo.
The purpose of the Kokoda Track licence system is to set minimum standards in the Kokoda tourism industry, covering requirements such as tour operator training and communication equipment and maximum pack weights for porters.
The purpose of the licences is to provide:
- An enhanced experience for trekkers
- Increased certainty for tour operators
- Compliance with PNG laws and regulations
- Respect for local culture and land owners
- Environmental sustainability
- A safer environment
- Fairness to workers
For further details on the conditions required to secure a tour operator licence, please download the following forms:
Code of Conduct
The Commercial Operations Licence works in conjunction with the voluntary
Kokoda Code of Conduct
. This code was released by the KTA and Kokoda trek operators in July 2009 to set guidelines on operating standards for tour operations along the Track.