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Now support staff mandatory for trekkers
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Post Date: 2012-07-23
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Tourists traveling to any trekking destination will have to take at least a support staff (porter or guide) with them from September. Government officials say the decision has been taken for the safety of tourists.

According to a recent policy decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs, tourists, who want to trek solo in Nepal, must hire at least a porter or a guide. Trekkers traveling in groups are already required to take the service of government registered trekking agencies.

Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) has welcomed the decision and urged the government to include the decision in the Tourism Act for effective implementation. “The decision will help promote Nepal as a safe destination for tourists at a time when international media are questioning the safety of foreigners in Nepal,” Mohan Lamsal, general secretary of TAAN, said.

Recent murder of a Belgian trekker in Langtang National Park along with some other cases of disappearance of trekkers have created negative image of Nepal in international market, according to Lamsal.Rana Bahadur Khadka, first vice-president of TAAN, said the new policy decision means all trekkers will have to take the service of government registered trekking agencies. He said this will control illegal operation of trekking business.

According to trekking operators, the new policy change will increase budget of FITs by only around $10 per day. “This is a very nominal amount and it won´t affect tourist arrivals,” Anjan Thapa, treasurer of TAAN, said. The Ministry of Home Affairs had taken the decision earlier this month following mounting pressure from tourism entrepreneurs, diplomatic missions and kin of missing tourists.


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Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal, Maligaun Ganesthan, Kathmandu, P.O.Box: 3612, Tel: 977-1-4427473,4440920,4440921 e-mail: taan@wlink.com.np