Kathmandu: Nepal has decided to ban solo trekking for foreign trekkers from April 1, making it mandatory to take a guide along the trekking path/route to ensure the safety and well-being of the visiting guests, a senior official said. The Nepal Tourism Board took the decision in this regard which would come into force from April 1, confirmed the director Maniraj Lamichhane.
"This decision has been made for the tourists' benefit. While going on solo treks, tourists often get lost and might face insecurities. In order to mitigate that we have come to the decision to put a ban on solo treks. Starting from April 1, guides are mandatory for adventure tourism," Lamichhane told ANI.
According to the NTB, around 50,000 tourists trekked without a guide or a porter in Nepal in 2019. These tourists trekked by obtaining a route permit and a Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card.
A TIMS card is a basic trekking permit that is required by foreign tourists who go around in adventure tourism. But the latest round of decisions also has put a ban on the TIMS permit without a guide. "Tourists would have to trek via a trekking company," added Lamichhane.
The board has also increased the price of the TIMS permit to Rs2,000 per person. Prior to this, people who travelled in large groups paid Rs1,000 for the TIMS card while those who travelled alone paid Rs2,000. TIMS permit for SAARC nationals has also increased to Rs1,000.