Adventure travelers in Nepal will no longer have the option of trekking through the country’s iconic mountains and trails on their own.
Starting April 1, all hikers in the country will be required to hire a government-licensed guide and get a Tracking Information Management System (TIMS Card) through an authorized trekking agency registered with the government. The TIMS Card will cost just above $15 USD.
According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the move was made with the “safety and security of visitors” in mind and was in response to some “adverse incidents” including getting lost while hiking, accidents, or health issues during a trek, or natural disasters. There are also concerns over the cost of search and rescue missions for trekkers who were lost on trails in the country.
“With the implementation, the trekkers will have immediate access to professional support system and will help in addressing the challenges of recuse operations in case of any unwarranted situation,” the NTB said.
Solo climbing on Mont Everest was banned by Nepal five years ago and the news this week extends that restriction to the entire country. Aside from Everest, the country is also home to a number of iconic hiking destinations, including the Langtang trek, the Upper Mustang trek, and more.
The new rules include all foreign national trekkers, so even if visitors are experienced or have a license or a trekking/mountaineering association in their home country, they will still need to follow the guidelines. It also includes those doing ACT or similar treks on bikes.
“NTB is positive that this step paces [the] way for sustainable, responsible, and eco-friendly tourism in the Himalayan region of Nepal,” the NTB said in its announcement.