From April 1, 2023, all foreign trekkers must hire a trekking guide to trek in Nepal. Individual foreign trekkers will be prohibited from going on a trekking journey alone in all trekking regions in Nepal, including Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang. Previously, a mandatory guide was only required for trekking in the restricted areas of Manaslu, Upper Mustang, Nar Phu Valley, and Kanchenjunga.
Focusing on the safety of the trekkers, the Nepal Tourism Board has taken such a decision. There have been several incidents of foreign trekkers trekking individually in Nepal going missing, and some even have lost their lives. The most common challenges faced by individual trekkers are the language barrier and failure to navigate the trail correctly, leading to such unfortunate circumstances.
Trekking with a licensed trekking guide relieves the trekkers from such challenges as they are well-spoken in English and Nepali, making communication between the locals and visitors easier. They are also well-versed with the trekking trails and trained to react to emergencies accurately, ensuring the trekkers a safe and secure trekking journey.
Increase in the fee of TIMS card
Previously, individual international trekkers used to acquire Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) cards under Free Individual Trekker (FIT) for NRS 2000 per person per entry to go on a trek on their own without a guide, whereas the TIMS card fee for group trekkers used to be NRS 1000.
Now, all trekkers must pay a fee of NRS 2000 to obtain a TIMS card and only trek with a licensed trekking guide under Nepal Trekking Association. The new rule has made trekking in Nepal a little expensive; however, it isn’t much of a price compared to the safety of trekkers in the wilderness of the Himalayas.
TIMS Card will now be available online.
Isn’t the new rule of mandatory guides for foreign trekkers a discouraging move?
Well, the answer is “No.” Nepal Tourism Board has taken this long-awaited step only after thorough research and consultation with the Tourism Businesses. The new rule will certainly make trekking in Nepal expensive, but it is only for the safety of the trekkers. By booking a trek with a registered trekking agency and hiking with licensed trekking guides, the trekking adventures will now be systematic and well-managed.
When the whole world is adapting to sustainable tourism, this is definitely a step forward in the right direction. Along with ensuring the safety of the trekkers, the new rule uplifts employment opportunities for the locals, which is a great help in the economic growth of the entire nation.
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