TAAN to make trekking permits mandatory for all trails
KATHMANDU, Jan 28: In a bid to make trekking business more organized and ensure safety of trekkers, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) is mulling over making trekking permits mandatory for all trekking trails across the country.
A recent meeting of Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN) decided to charge a fee of Rs 200 per trekkers on routes that are not covered by Trekkers´ Information Management System (TIMS). However, the association is yet to get the approval of Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation.
At present, only the trekkers heading to Everest, Langtang and Annapurna region should get permits, known as TIMS card, from TAAN or Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). Trekkers traveling in groups need to pay US$ 10 as TIMS fee, while FITs need to pay $20. However, group trekkers and FITs from SAARC region get TIMS cards by paying $3 and $6 per person, respectively.
Ganga Sagar Pant, CEO of TAAN, said the association was preparing to implement the decision from March 1. “Trekking agencies should fill up the form and pay the fee to get the permit,” added Pant.
Mahendra Singh Thapa, president of TAAN, said the association plans to use the amount thus collected to establish social welfare fund for trekking workers. “We have been facing various problems in mobilization of TIMS fund in the lack of CEO at NTB,” Thapa said, adding: “We are hopeful that this decision will help us mobilize the fund independently and in an effective way."
Officials of TAAN believe the new decision will help them maintain database of trekkers and minimize illegal operation of trekking business.
Surendra Sapkota, under secretary at Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Surendra, said the ministry has received proposal from TAAN to enforce trekking permit on all routes. “But nothing has been decided so far,” he added.
Meanwhile, the number of trekkers taking TIMS cards increased by 5.46 percent in 2012 compared to figures of 2011. According to TAAN, it issued 87,247 TIMS cards in 2012.