KATHMANDU, June 3: Foreign tourists now cannot go as solo travelers and have to be accompanied by a trained trekking guide, as per the government enforced rule in this regard effective from Wednesday.
The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has made it mandatory for trekkers to be accompanied by licensed trekking guides. Earlier on March 9, the board issued a public notice notifying about the decision.
As per the new rule, all trekkers now mandatorily require obtaining a Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) card. In the same manner, the trekkers have to be accompanied by licensed trekking guides through trekking agencies authorized by the government.
The decision has been taken to check adverse incidents like getting lost during the trek, health issues and potential natural disasters along the way, according to the NTB.
Meanwhile, Nepal welcomed 404,231 tourists in the first five months of the year 2023, which shows that the Himalayan country’s tourism business has returned to normalcy post-COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget announced last week by the government aims to welcome over 1 million tourists in 2023. To meet the government’s target, an additional 600,000 tourists will have to arrive in the country in the next seven months.
In the month of May alone, a total of 77,703 foreign tourists visited the country. In May 2019, the figure stood at 78,329. According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Nepal welcomed 98,773 tourists in April, 99,426 tourists in March, 73,255 tourists in February and 55,074 tourists in January.
During the review period, Indian tourists visiting Nepal stood the highest. While 36,575 Indian visitors came to Nepal, the US and China were in second and third positions with the number recorded at 8,545 and 4,667, respectively.