The Nepal government has imposed a rule to ban solo trekking for foreigners anywhere in the country as of April 1. It is no longer an option for even experienced international tourists to trek alone. It is also mandatory for travelers to hire government-licensed guides while travelling to remote regions.
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Nepal – Trekking Destination
Nepal is famous for its high mountain peaks and hosts some of the most splendid treks in the world. It has eight of the world’s tallest mountains, which are famous among trekkers. The most popular trekking spots are Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, and Langtang. It is situated in the Himalayas and in some regions of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
Nepal’s major revenue comes from tourism and trekking. Many experienced tourists opt to hike solo, while others hire a guide. Most of these guides are from unauthorised companies that work for a lower price. This has been a menace since it takes away the jobs of Nepalis.
Ban On Solo Trekking
The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) announced that there would be a ban for solo international trekkers to hike anywhere in the national parks of Nepal from the first of April. This rule is imposed for tourists of all levels of experience in trekking. As per reports, there are several deadly accidents in Nepal’s mountains, including ones caused by avalanches, blizzards, and high-altitude sickness.
This ban comes into effect five years after banning solo trekkers on Mount Everest. The mountain regions of the country witness a huge influx of mountain loving tourists during the hiking season. However, the nation faces a bigger monetary loss in the search and rescue mission of lost solo hikers.
The director of NTB, Mani R. Lamichhane, told CNN that if a person travelling alone in a remote region faced an emergency, there would be no one to help him or her. He added that, in the case of a missing person or a dead one, the government won’t be able to track them down if they use a remote route. Due to these issues, trekking solo will not be an option anymore.
Another issue facing the government is unlicensed tour guides and companies. They don’t pay taxes since they are not registered and licensed by the government. This takes away the jobs of many Nepalis. The trekking association has been demanding proper action against these unauthorized people for a long time now.
Now the government has made it mandatory for a foreign traveler to trek only in groups, and that too with a government-licensed guide, when travelling in national parks and remote areas. Trekkers can still go on solo hikes outside of national parks, such as around the city of Kathmandu. The climbing and trekking communities have mixed opinions on this new rule.