Nepal has long been regarded as a paradise for trekkers, but a new rule prohibiting solo hiking is changing how tourists can enjoy its mountain scenery.
Independent travelers who wish to explore the Himalayan peaks will need to hire a licensed guide beginning on April 1.
API was informed by Nepal Tourism Board director Maniraj Lamichhane that “this decision has been made for the benefit of the tourists.” Tourists who go on solo treks frequently get lost and may experience insecurities. We have decided to prohibit solo treks as a means of mitigating that. Adventure tourism requires guides beginning on April 1.
Tapashya Singh Thakuri of travel agent confirmed that certified trekking companies in Nepal have been informed of the rule change. However, The National learned from other local businesses that they have not yet received an official notice regarding the new rule.
For any kind of trekking activity, all independent foreign travelers, solo or in groups, will need to book a licensed guide when it comes into effect.
There are a variety of responses to the rule change that is being proposed, with some in the country’s adventure tourism industry expressing regret at the loss of the freedom to explore one of the world’s great wildernesses.
I respectfully disagree with the Nepal Tourism Board’s recent decision to require all trekkers to use guides. While having a guide can make trekking more enjoyable and safer, this is not always the case, according to Kandel.
“Why not collectively work on training guides to provide trekkers with a compelling option rather than imposing a blanket rule?” Additionally, if safety is the most important consideration, the regulation ought to apply to all trekkers, including Nepalese trekkers, who might not be as prepared as tourists from other countries.
The rule change is “due to increasing safety concerns,” according to tourism officials. Some users of social media have suggested that the rule is being implemented to increase employment opportunities for Nepalese guides for financial gain.
The choice has both advantages and disadvantages for Rajan Dahal, a Kathmandu-based eco-friendly outdoor adventure tour operator.
“On the one hand, it will ensure that tourists have a better understanding of the local culture and customs and increase their level of safety. On the other hand, it might make travel more expensive. Dahal stated, “Ultimately, the effectiveness of the decision will be determined by its implementation and how travelers respond to it.”
“The decision to exempt Nepali trekkers from the new rule may be due to several factors. Including their ability to communicate with locals and their familiarity with the local terrain and culture. And the fact that they are not subject to the same travel restrictions as foreigners,” the article states.
For a variety of reasons, including the freedom to choose the location, duration, pace, and scope of a trek, solo adventurers frequently choose to travel alone. Due to the fact that this is no longer an option in the mountains of Nepal. As some tourists may choose to travel to other locations.
Dahal acknowledges that this may be a problem, but he believes the nation can overcome it.
“Some solo travelers may decide, rather than traveling to Nepal, to visit other locations. Where they are free to explore on their own. Despite the new regulations, Nepal still has a unique and diverse culture, landscape, and adventure opportunities that may entice a lot of tourists.
Nepal, renowned for its Himalayan peaks, is home to Mount Everest. The world’s highest mountain, which draws approximately 35,000 tourists annually. The new rule is unlikely to have a significant impact on tourist numbers on the 8,849-meter-high peak. It is because foreign climbers of Chomolungma, the local name for the peak, typically do so on organized expeditions.
The new regulations are most likely to have an effect on Nepal’s other trekking routes. For independent or novice hikers, Annapurna Base Camp, Ghorepani-Poon Hill, and the Langtang Valley have long been popular options.
According to the Nepal Tourism Board, more than 50,000 tourists trekked in Nepal without a guide in 2019.
Tourists require a Trekkers Information Management System card and an official route permit to independently trek in Nepal’s wilderness. The expense of this license is 2,000 Nepalese Rupees for every individual ($15). Which expanded from 1,000 for each individual for those going to gatherings. And voyagers can never again apply for the grant without booking a manual to go with them.
The Nepal Tourism Board’s plans for implementing and monitoring its new rule are still unclear.