A top priority for many trekkers is to ensure that they are traveling with a reputable and responsible local tour operator that will not only take care of the trekkers on the trip but also ensure that the porters are treated well, provided the necessary equipment and paid a fair wage. Several associations exist with the mission to promote the well being and fair treatment of porters. Local tour operators have the opportunity to voluntarily join these associations and pledge to follow the their guidelines for fair treatment of porters. The following information is provided as a general guide to each association and its purpose. Please take the time to do your own research on these organizations and their missions.

Local tour operators often also join travel associations that promote local tourism. These travel associations and their descriptions are also listed below.  

KIATO - Kilimanjaro Association Of Tour Operators


KIATO is an association of local tourist agents based in the Northern Zone, Kilimanjaro Region in particular.

By hiring a KIATO member company for your mountain climb, you are assured that they adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Proper treatment of porters and other crew

  • Proper pay for porters and other crew in compliance with agreement between the concerned parties.

  • The tour company will see that porters are properly clothed.

  • The tour company will give proper meals, two or thee meals per day.

  • The tour company will make sure porters carry not more than 25kgs in total (clients' and porter's personal gear cumulative).

  • The tour company will enter into contract with porters hired /engaged and should be paid shortly after return from the trip and not to be hired and paid through guide(s).

  • The tour company will make sure that tips are paid by clients directly to all crew instead of giving it to office or guide(s) to distribute to the crew.

  • The tour company will provide porters with transport, shelter, medication and accord park entry fees.


IMEC - The International Mountain Explorers Connection

The International Mountain Explorers Connection is actively following the WTO Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty (STEP) program to promote responsible, sustainable tourism that facilitates benefits from tourism "trickling down" to all members of the local population.

Porter Assistance Project seeks to:

  • Provide individual porters, mountain crew, and climbing companies with a convenient and inexpensive means of equipping their crew with high quality clothing.

  • Offer English language, First Aid, HIV/AIDS Awareness, and Money Management classes in order to motivate and empower porters.

  • Educate the tourist population about acceptable standards of porter treatment.

Porter Assistance Project offices in

  • Kathmandu, Nepal

  • Moshi, Tanzania

  • Machame, Marangu and Rongai gates of Kilimanjaro

stockpile water and wind resistant jackets and pants, quick-drying synthetic "base" layers, gloves, socks, hats, sunglasses, and footwear. The equipment, donated by manufacturers, ski schools, and individuals, is available for porters, trekkers/climbers, and tour operators to borrow to outfit their porters. All that is required is a small, refundable deposit.

(Currently Suspended Pending Approval to Enter Kilimanjaro National Park). The International Mountain Explorers Connection created the Partnership for Responsible Travel Program to recognize those tour operators committed to fair treatment of the mountain crew. Acceptance as a Partner is based upon the climbing company’s meeting IMEC's Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment on Kilimanjaro through the monitoring activities performed by IMEC's local initiative, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project.

There is no fee or donation required to be a part of the Partner Program. It is a part of IMEC’s mission to highlight those climbing companies with fair treatment practices. Criteria for acceptance as a Partner:

  • Implementation of systems that ensure fair treatment for the company’s crew.

  • Demonstration of compliance with the proper treatment guidelines.

The Local Partner Climbing Company is expected to:

  • Pay the minimum wage established by the Tanzanian stakeholders.

  • Make salary payments within 2 days after the descent of a climb.

  • Provide the appropriate number of porters so that porters carry no more than 20kg for the company weight.

  • Implement a tipping procedure to ensure that the porters receive the full amount of tip intended for them.

  • Provide the porter with at least 2 meals per day and cover food costs for the crew.

  • Ensure that porters have the proper gear for the climb.

  • Provide adequate tents and ground sheet.

  • Assist with the descent of an ill porter and provide for medical treatment as indicated.

  • Establish a policy against the payment of jembe and declare thatkirunje will not be tolerated within the company.

The Local Climbing Company agrees to:

  • Cooperate with all of the Monitoring Methods performed by IMEC’s local initiative, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).

  • Be receptive to and follow up on KPAP’s reporting.

  • Accept the agreed upon procedure if the climbing company is not meeting the standards.

The Overseas Partner Climbing Company is expected to:

  • Ensure that the local outfitter has been approved by IMEC as a company adhering in practice to the recommended Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment.

  • Make certain that the local company allows IMEC to monitor the company for observance of these guidelines.


KPAP - Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project


This is a project of IMEC - the partner program is currently suspended pending receiving permission to enter Kilimanjaro National Park. (Updated: June 2013)

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is registered as a Tanzanian NGO (non-governmental organization) since January 2003. KPAP is an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based out of Boulder, Colorado in the United States.

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project is a legally registered NGO. KPAP is not a porter membership organization, or a tour operating business, and we do not collect fees from porters. We exist solely for the purpose of improving the working conditions of the porters climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

There are various groups in Tanzania who claim to work "on behalf" of porters. The following Unions and Associations are easily confused with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project:

  • Kilimanjaro Porters Association

  • Kilimanjaro Guides & Porters Union

  • Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society


TATO - Tanzania Association of Tour Operators

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TATO was established to coordinate and spearhead collective representation in the tourism industry in Tanzania, in order to provide a common and comprehensive stand and input for the government and in it’s institutions in matters pertaining to the formulation of tourism policy, plans and programs. TATO aims to establish and maintain high quality and standards among its members and other tourism intermediaries i.e. hotels, reserved areas, airlines and marine transport. TATO has more than 200 members based throughout the country.


ATTA - Africa Travel & Tourism Association

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ATTA is a UK registered company limited by Guarantee, run by the Chief Executive from offices in Kensington, London. The Board of directors are drawn from the various disciplines of membership in UK and Africa accommodation, travel operators, representation and Media. The Annual General meeting is held in Durban every May. These are our goals:

  • To create a positive image of Africa.

  • To create greater awareness of Africa as a travel destination.

  • To create a closer working relationship amongst members of the association and travel industry representatives.

  • To promote forums for the development, marketing and sales of Africa and the tourism products of members.

  • To promote travel industry professionalism and skills through education and training.

  • To assist in the development and promotion of new products and destinations within Africa.

  • To assist one charitable foundation in Africa each year.


JATA - Japan Association of Travel Agents


An association sanctioned by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism based on the Travel Agency Law, the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) seeks to improve the quality of services provided to travelers to and from Japan. It contributes to the development of the travel and tourism industry through a variety of activities including disseminating information, encouraging cooperation among members, and promoting the development of businesses and legislation that will benefit the membership and the industry at large.


TTB - Tanzania Tourist Board

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Tanzania Tourist Board is a government organization which was legally established under Tanzania Tourist Board act, CAP 364 of 1962 and amended by act No. 18 of 1992. TTB was formed after the disbandment of the Tanzania Tourist Corporation. The Board is mandated with promotion and development of all the aspects of tourism industry in Tanzania.


To promote sustainable tourism both domestically and internationally through innovative and dynamic awareness creation, in order to contribute significantly to the social – economic development of Tanzania.