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The decision to ban solo treks is in response to safety concerns as the number of tourist-related injuries, fatalities, and visitors has increased. Injuries and fatalities have been attributed to causes like rescue difficulties, individuals getting lost, and ultimately succumbing to the wild mountain terrain. Thus, the decision was made to prioritize safety and mitigate hazards. The Nepal Tourism Board emphasized that the safety and well-being of trekkers and locals are of utmost importance to Nepal's tourism industry.
As a result of the new measures, the issuance of the TIMS card for Free Individual Trekkers (FIT) will be discontinued. In order to trek, tourists must enlist and make arrangements with a reliable trekking company and hire a guide for the duration of the journey. These steps are vital in ensuring the safety and security of all parties involved in the trekking experience.
This is not the first time that Nepal has made efforts to ban solo treks. In 2012, the authorities imposed a ban on solo trekking in response to a tragic event that occurred in Langtang National Park. However, an agreement has been reached between the Nepal Tourism Board, Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN), and the Joint Tourism Trade Union Forum (JOTUF) to keep FIT operational until further notice. There were plans to close FIT on October 1, 2022, but the board did not follow through with this decision. As per Ram Kaji Prayas, Secretary of JOTUF and President of Nepal Independent Tourism Workers Association (NITWOG), the recent decision to close FIT’s operation has been made following several discussions and consensus on the matter.
The Nepal tourism board has introduced a new policy for issuing Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) cards to all tourists, which aims to simplify the process and promote transparency.
The previous system, where solo travelers paid double the amount of group travelers, has been discontinued, and all tourists will now be issued the same type of TIMS card, costing 2000 rupees per person.
This decision was made with the approval of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Finance, and the additional revenue generated by the price hike will be used to enhance tourism infrastructure and facilities. Citizens of SAARC countries will now pay 1000 rupees for the TIMS card. The new pricing structure reflects Nepal’s commitment to ensuring the safety of adventure-seeking tourists while maintaining the quality of its adventure tourism industry.
The ban on solo treks in Nepal is expected to create ample job opportunities for guides and improve the trekking experience for tourists. Visitors are advised to plan accordingly and make arrangements with a reliable trekking company before embarking on their journey. The new measures prioritize the safety and well-being of all parties involved in the trekking experience and aim to create a safer environment for tourists to explore Nepal's beautiful landscapes.
Senior Travel Consultant at Hiking Bees
Panchanga is a crucial team member in Hiking Bees, as he oversees the company's digital operations and agency execution. With a robust background in tech, travel, and tourism. He is an avid travel enthusiast. Currently, Panchanga serves as the Travel Consultant at Hiking Bees.
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