March 3, 2023
Starting April 1, 2023, the Nepal Tourism Board has mandated that all foreign nationals visiting Nepal for trekking purposes must be accompanied by a trekking guide. This new regulation replaces the previous system where foreign tourists could trek alone by purchasing a Tourist Information Management System (TIMS) card distributed by the Nepal Tourism Board.
The decision was made by the Nepal Tourism Board in response to an increase in the number of tourists who fall and get injured while hiking alone. In the past, such tourists have had difficulty being rescued, getting lost, and even dying. The board believes that requiring a guide will help to rescue missing, injured, and sick tourists more effectively and provide better protection for tourists. The decision was also made to improve Nepal’s international reputation, which has been tarnished by the deaths of tourists who trekked alone.
To implement this new rule, the board has worked with the Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAN) and the Joint Tourism Trade Union Forum (JOTUF), a joint forum of tourism workers in the sector. The memorandum of understanding signed between the organizations specifies that foreign tourists must take a guide and the required amount of workers through a trekking company.
The new regulation also increases the TIMS fee charged by the board. Tourists from SAARC countries must now pay Nrs 1000, up from the previous Nrs. 600, while non-SAARC tourists must pay Rs 2,000 for the TIMS fee while traveling individually.
Overall, the new rule aims to improve the safety, rescue, and management of foreign tourists who visit Nepal for trekking purposes.