Are you planning to go trekking in Nepal? If so, you should be aware of the new rules established by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). Foreign tourists will no longer be permitted to trek without a guide as of 1 April 2023. This decision was made to increase employment opportunities for Nepalese guides and make the destination safer for tourists.
In 2019, according to the NTB, approximately 50,000 tourists trekked in Nepal without a guide or porter. These tourists obtained a route permit and a TIMS (Tourism Information Management System) permit from the NTB and then traveled independently. However, there have been cases of tourists going missing during their trekking expeditions over the years. The purpose of the new regulation is to ensure the safety of tourists and prevent similar incidents in the future.
Director of the Nepal Tourism Board, Maniraj Lamichhane explained that the decision to require tourists to trek with a guide was made to make the experience safer and more enjoyable. This decision will also increase employment opportunities for local guides and porters, he added.
The TIMS permit will no longer be issued to tourists without a guide, per the new regulation. Instead, tourists will be required to trek with a registered trekking company, which will provide a guide. The NTB has also increased the price of the TIMS permit for all tourists, regardless of whether they are traveling alone or in a group, to Rs 2,000 per person. SAARC citizens will also be required to pay Rs 1,000 for a TIMS permit.
Lamichhane emphasized that the increase in the TIMS permit fee was made after careful consideration and consultation with the tourism industry, even though some may perceive the new regulation as making trekking in Nepal more expensive. He added that the fee increase will contribute to the quality and safety of the trek.
Concerns have been raised about the potential impact on independent travelers and the cost of traveling to Nepal in response to this decision. The decision to require a guide and increase the cost of the TIMS permit could discourage some budget travelers and have an effect on the total number of tourists visiting the country.
In addition, the NTB has decided to streamline the application process for TIMS permits by allowing tourists to apply online. This new provision will be implemented alongside the other new regulations on April 1, 2023.
When trekking in the Himalayas, we at Shalom Treks recognize the significance of safety and preparation. Our experienced guides and support staff are committed to ensuring that all of our clients have a safe and enjoyable trekking experience. We offer a variety of reasonably priced services, including trekking licenses, permits, maps, and equipment rental. If you are planning a trek in Nepal, we invite you to get in touch with us to learn more about how we can make your trip a success.
In conclusion, the Nepal Tourism Board’s decision to require all foreign trekkers to have a guide and to increase the cost of the TIMS permit is a significant change for independent travelers. It is important to remember that this decision was made with the safety and well-being of tourists in mind, despite the fact that it may affect some budget travelers and the total number of tourists visiting the country. By working with a qualified guide and trekking with a reputable tour company, tourists can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas while remaining safe and well-prepared for potential challenges.