Now support staff mandatory for trekkers in Nepal
Replies: 64 - Last Post: Aug 20, 2012 12:26 AM Last Post By: walksalone
Jul 31, 2012 1:10 PM
30rdc: you are right that sentence is lifted from TAAN's statement (baffling and does not inspire any confidence in them). There is some extra information about pressure from 'diplomatic missions' and the 'Government of Nepal's new policy'. Bare assertions admittedly and maybe my pessimism on the matter and (now less) faith in the GHT as a reliable source of information led me to take it at face value.
Navyo does present a well-informed picture of internal processes but time moves on and I wonder why GHT posted the info only yesterday. The noise reaching me from KTM, albeit quiet and subjective, suggests it is only a matter of time before the government acts.
On reflection, the GHT link doesn't clarify the matter.
Jul 31, 2012 1:18 PM
31Having said all that, buried in The Himalayan Times:
KATHMANDU: The tourism entrepreneurs have demanded the government immediately ensure a provision to take tour guides and porters with the foreign visitors in trekking.
The Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) demanded to make a legal provision to arrange a guide and porter compulsory as the cases of foreigners missing were increased when they were allowed to trek alone.
TAAN Vice-chairman Jangbu Sherpa said the tourism entrepreneurs have demanded such legal provision keeping in view of tourists' security and facilities, adding that the tourists, however, could go alone in the routes that are busy in all seasons.
He said the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation has positively responded to their demands in the adventurous trekking routes like Langtang and others.
Surendra Prasad Sapkota, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of the Tourism and Civil Aviation, said the ministry is holding talks with the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the demand of entrepreneurs though they have not reached a conclusion.
Jul 31, 2012 1:36 PM
32Scoodly: your post 31 - the tone of what TAAN are saying strengthens my suspicions that TAAN are trying to exploit Debbie Maveau's murder and the various disappearances to fill their own pockets, albeit under the guise of "safety".
The GHT piece was the first that I had seen about foreign embassies also requesting this, but as you say this may be innaccurate, and it would not be the first inaccuaracy in this saga, especially as the embassies should know how corrupt and chaotic the Nepali authorities are, and be aware of the various vested interests and their influence.
Apparently about 4-5 years ago the Nepali authorities tried to mandate that all trekkers had to trek with approved guides and/or porters, but they had to withdraw the requirement as the system was in chaos.
Jul 31, 2012 1:54 PM
33Being the cynic that I am – I wonder if TAAN read threads such as this ??
If that was the case then maybe people like myself aren’t helping by suggesting that in a lot of cases trekkers can simply band together to get around this new rule – Also other posters have pointed out that a solo trekker could simply hang around the Park Gate and await other trekkers turning up and just walk through with them, then if it was their intention to trek alone then they could do so until they came in sight of the next checkpoint and again hung around until other trekkers passed through (Or even offer a little back hander, that would probably work too)
Yes – There was a brief period a few years ago when it was mandatory to take along a guide – But that soon died a death – TAAN seam now to be pushing for the reintroduction of this rule, even though it caused an outcry last time.
Safety reasons – CRAP – If they wanted to improve safety this could be achieved in a myriad of better ways, The first one being to catch the culprits of these crimes against trekkers, then if they wished they could improve TIMS and at least try to get it to do what it was supposedly designed for and not just another tax on trekkers.
People will get fed up, some have already done so and cancelled their Nepal trips, more will no doubt do this unless this new Greed Mentality ends
OK – I had to get it off my chest ;-)
Jul 31, 2012 2:00 PM
34Agreed about TAAN and agents seeking to exploit this tragedy for financial gain and I remember the 'Liaison Officer' issue too.
I'd like to know what TAAN, agents and others who support this move in the name of safety expect a porter on $10 per day to do in the face of someone capable and prepared to kill? I would expect nothing of somebody I hired other than to save himself. If others expect more, I suggest you hire somebody trained and skilled and pay an appropriate amount of money (any suggestions on this?). There are plenty of ex-Ghurkhas out there.
Further, (and here I turn into an optimist) I would like TAAN to account for what they do with TIMS revenue and suggest some of the money is used to pay for the army (or police) to patrol Langtang (they have a base in the area). Maybe that goes beyond optimism and into fantasy and I have long thought soldiers themselves ought to be investigated.
Jul 31, 2012 2:06 PM
35Good Idea scoodly
I have posted my own feelings about this rule on the TAAN Feedback page of their website.
I don’t know if anyone ever reads this – But if nothing else. It lets us get things off our chests
Jul 31, 2012 2:17 PM
36Yes Rob, I doubt there will be an effective system to enforce the rule and there will be ways and means to avoid it. However, the provision will mean some people will trek with a guide or porter when they would prefer not to and some not to trek or even visit Nepal.
Difficult to quantify the impact on visitor numbers and overall revenue with any degree of accuracy and easy to overstate the impact of this rule but it is a short step to extend the rule to all trekkers which will have a greater affect on the tourism sector (I speculate).
Jul 31, 2012 9:40 PM
37In Guatemala, if you want to climb some of the volcanoes around Antigua, you have to take an armed guard along with you to fend off would-be muggers. At least you get something for your money in that case -- a surly gentleman with an automatic weapon who is only too happy to shoot any attackers. I agree with scoodly (#34) -- not sure my $10 per day porter is going to offer much of a defense, should the need arise :-)
Aug 1, 2012 5:44 AM
38An interesting note that some may have missed in the Himalayan Times article that scoodly posted in #31:
"TAAN Vice-chairman Jangbu Sherpa said the tourism entrepreneurs have demanded such legal provision keeping in view of tourists' security and facilities, adding that the tourists, however, could go alone in the routes that are busy in all seasons"
I would interpret this to mean that the popular routes like EBC, AC, ABC may be unaffected by any new rules.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Edited by: dougloveshiking
Aug 3, 2012 5:23 AM
From the GHT (can't find anything in the Nepali online media):
"The Government of Nepal’s new policy for trekking affirms that solo trekkers heading to the Langtang National Park should be accompanied by a porter or a guide. Earlier, solo trekkers in this area were not required to be guided."
If this is the case then it does not have an impact on the majority of trekkers or even the majority of solo trekkers. I still have concerns that it could be extended in time but note to self; be less fearful about change.
Aug 8, 2012 8:20 AM
40As somebody with over thirty years experience of travelling and trekking in Nepal I felt compelled to say something about this news. My first thought was that it is an ill-informed rumour. My second was that even if it is true, it won't be enforced due to inefficient policing and stiff local opposition. My third was that even it is enforced it can be dealt with very simply with the old Asian expedient of baksheesh.
It does not surprise me to find that slick agencies in Thamel are citing the murder of Debbie Maveau, as a good reason for making it mandatory for trekkers to take guides with them as they would pounce on anything which might aid them to do more business. What does surprise me is how many people believe it is a good reason.
A look at sites on the Internet providing information on people who have come to grief whilst travelling in countries other than their own makes it very clear that Nepal is still far safer for travellers than most countries including places such as Thailand or India and even western countries such as the USA and Australia where several foreign travellers have been murdered.
I personally would warn people to think twice about trekking alone and out of season in Langtang though. Langtang is a major conduit for the illegal wildlife traders who smuggle wildlife items such as tiger skins which fetch ten thousand dollars each on the international market from India through to Llasa and then on to markets further afield and I remain convinced that the British trekker there who was bludgeoned to death there a few years ago was murdered by them rather than by the four Tamangs who were convicted of his murder, and that Aubrey Sacco and Debbie Maveau met their deaths at their hands too. These people are dangerous gangsters and the locals are terrified of them.
Aug 8, 2012 12:12 PM
In The Himalayan Times under the headline 'Nepal mulls ban on solo trekkers after attacks':
Nepal is considering a ban on tourists trekking alone in the Himalayas, officials said Wednesday (8th August), after several women foreign visitors were attacked or have disappeared.
Solo travellers would have to be accompanied by at least one porter or guide under proposals being discussed by the Maoist-led caretaker government, tourism ministry spokesman Bal Krishna Ghimire told
"mulls", "considering", "proposals being discussed"...hope yet?
Maybe email your views to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (addresses from tourism.gov.np)
Aug 9, 2012 7:07 AM
42One must also expect that a Maoist or communist government is always in favour of regulations and prohibitions rather than freedom ...
Now for those who write it will be difficult to implement the ban, they just have to stop issuing the TIMS to individuals and you won't be able to pass any checkpoint where this is controlled (such as Everest and Annapurna).
Completely off the beaten track, indeed, it may be difficult to control. For instance I trekked to Bigu Gompa, I didn't pass any kind of police or amy control on that trek.
Aug 10, 2012 9:20 AM
I too have been tempted not to get a TIMS card because the system is ineffective and checks are avoidable but ultimately did so, I think, to tread lightly and be a good guest while in Nepal.
This spring, at the checkpoints in Jorsale and before Namche I was ahead of the p/g so said to the soldiers 'guide coming' and was waved on without a second glance. However the issue is this rule (and many others) is not consistently enforced but can be firmly enforced on occasions with trekkers being turned back or paying through the nose.
A 'no solo trekking' rule would also be ineffective and inconsistently enforced.
Aug 10, 2012 8:49 PM
44I was thinking about all the young trekkers we met last fall and wonder how the young Israeli trekkerss who have just finished their national service will react to the the supposed changes? Will be interesting to see what happens in October....
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