In Nepal, foreign tourists are no longer allowed to go trek in Nepal without a guide. Director of the Nepal Tourism Board, Maniraj Lamichhane informed that this decision will be implemented from April 1, 2023.
In 2019, 46 thousand 142 tourists came as ‘Free Individual Trekkers (FIT)’ in Nepal before Covid-19. In 2022, this number was 19,425. Such tourists used to travel alone by taking a TIMS card from Nepal Tourism Board and Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card-selling agencies.
Lamichhane said that such a decision had to be taken to make the destination safer after repeating the situation that such tourists are more unsafe during the trek and when there is a problem, there is also a problem in rescue. This decision has been made to make the destination safe, easy to rescue, and agile in management,’ he said, ‘this decision of trek in Nepal without a guide will also be fruitful in creating jobs in Nepal. Along with this, the team card issued for FIT will not be issued. Tourists have to come to Nepal through a trekking company and go on a trek only with a guide.
The value of the TIMS card increased by 100%
With the closure of TIMS card issued for FIT (Free Individual Trekkers), the board will now distribute the same type of TIMS card to all tourists. Previously, those going on a group tour would pay Rs 1,000 per person and those going on a solo tour would get a team card by paying Rs 2,000 per person. Now the price of TIMS cards for all tourists has been increased to 2000 rupees per person. Director Lamichhane said that the decision to increase the price of TIMS Card was made with the consent of the Ministry of Tourism after receiving approval from the Ministry of Finance to increase the fee.
He said that while guaranteeing the safety of tourists going on risky journeys to Nepal’s adventure destinations, the price of TIMS card has been equalized to maintain the quality. Citizens of SAARC countries have to pay 1000 rupees for TIMS card, which was previously paid 300 rupees.
Doesn’t this send the message that the destination is expensive?
This decision of the board will make the destination more expensive. However, director Lamichhane said that the decision to increase the fee for the TIMS was made after studying the suggestion from the tourism businessmen that this fee should not be too expensive to guarantee safe travel.
“Nowadays, the concept of sustainable tourism has come around the world, tourists themselves want to benefit from tourism and get jobs,” he said, “this decision does not send a negative message to tourists.”
He informed to media that the decision to increase the price of the teams and to bring a guide compulsory for those who go alone was made after a discussion with the tourism professionals.
Teams Card can be purchased online
So far, to get a team card, you have to physically attend the office of the Nepal Tourism Board or Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN). The board has also decided to simplify this provision and arrange for the team card to be issued online. All these provisions will be implemented from April 1.