Australian Trek Operators : A Guide to the Code of Conduct for Kokoda Trek Tour Operators
Introduction to the Kokoda Track Authority
Embarking on a trek along the historic Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is an adventure that requires careful planning and adherence to the Kokoda Track Authority’s (KTA) Code of Conduct. This code is essential to ensure the safety, professionalism, and environmental sustainability of treks along the Kokoda Trail.
The Significance of the Kokoda Track
The Kokoda Track holds immense historical importance, being the site of the Kokoda Campaign during World War II. As Australian trekkers, retracing the steps of the soldiers who fought here is not just a physical challenge but also an opportunity to connect with the past.
Licensing Trek and Tour Operators in Papua New Guinea
To ensure that your trek is in capable hands, it is crucial to choose a licensed tour operator. The KTA has introduced new rules for tour operators taking people along the Kokoda Track. Licensed operators are required to carry a commercial license, issued by the Investment Promotion Authority of PNG.
Importance of Licensed Operators
Australian companies play a significant role in guiding trekkers across the Kokoda Trail. However, it is essential to recognize and support local tour operators. By booking with local operators, you contribute to the economic growth of the region and help them compete with their Australian counterparts.
Code of Conduct for Trekking Adventures
Upholding Professional Standards
The Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) has set a Code of Conduct for trekking companies. This code aims to uphold professional standards within the trekking industry. It addresses aspects such as training requirements, service standards, and environmental conservation along the track.
Training and Safety
Trekking companies are required to invest in the training of their guides and porters. This includes physical preparation for the trek and addressing safety concerns. Trekkers can have confidence in local operators who adhere to these standards, providing a safer and more enjoyable experience.
Trekking Season and Booking an Expedition with Operators
Best Times to Trek
Understanding the trekking season is crucial for planning your expedition. The Kokoda Track and Northern Beaches experience different weather patterns, affecting the trek’s difficulty. It’s advisable to plan your trek during the dry season for a more comfortable experience.
When booking a trek, consider the reputation and adherence to the Code of Conduct of the tour operator. Be cautious of operators who do not comply with the standards set by the KTA. A responsible trek operator should provide you with details of the trek, including physical preparation requirements.
Kokoda Trekking Operators Association (KTOA)
The Kokoda Trekking Operators Association (KTOA) is a representative member-driven collective that unifies operators. This association plays a vital role in setting industry standards and addressing challenges faced by operators and trekkers. Being a founding member of the KTOA demonstrates an operator’s commitment to professionalism and ethical practices.
Supporting Local Operators
The KTOA aims to help local operators compete with Australian companies that dominate the market. Supporting local operators not only contributes to the community but also ensures a diverse and sustainable trekking industry.
Safety Concerns and Continuous Improvement
Recent incidents, including the unfortunate death of an Australian trekker, have raised questions about safety on the track. The KTA’s Code of Conduct addresses safety concerns, emphasizing the need for operators to prioritize the well-being of trekkers.
The trekking industry is dynamic, and operators must stay informed about new rules and safety measures. Trekkers should choose operators committed to continuous improvement and adapting to evolving industry standards.
Trekking the Kokoda Track is a rewarding and challenging experience. By choosing a licensed and reputable tour operator that adheres to the Kokoda Track Code of Conduct, you not only ensure your safety but also contribute to the preservation of this historically significant trail. Remember, the Kokoda Track is more than just a physical journey – it’s a connection to the past and an opportunity to forge lasting memories in the rugged beauty of Papua New Guinea.