Tourists wait for their turn to pay entrance fee at the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Office in Solukhumbu in this recent photo. Photos: Radha Dhungana
SOLUKHUMBU, Dec 24: Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality has been able to raise Rs 44.07 million in tourist entry fee, since October this year.
The rural municipality has been charging Rs 2,000 per visitor. A total 22,358 tourists entered the rural municipality in the past two and half months, according to Lakpa Chiri Sherpa, information officer of the rural municipality.
In month-wise breakdown, the rural municipality collected Rs 28.25 million from 14,100 tourists in October, Rs 13.35 million from 6,676 in November, and Rs 3.1 million from 1,554 tourists in December so far.
Although the tourist season is wrapping up, tourists are still entering the rural municipality at a constant rate, which hovers around 100 per day.
Despite local entrepreneurs’ strong opposition to the collection of entry fee, the officials have been collecting the fee. They do not even recognize the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card issued by the Department of Tourism (DoT) and the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).
“The rural municipality has mobilized its rights to collect and allocate tourist revenue as suggested in the constitution, as the funds collected previously were not used for tourism development of the region,” said Nim Dorje Sherpa, chairperson of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality. Sherpa informed Republica that the funds now collected will be used for the tourism promotion of the rural municipality.
The officials are seeking to make use of this fund to prioritize tourism promotion in the region. The amount collected is set to be used to improve and construct roads between Lukla and the Everest Base Camp along with increasing tourist infrastructure in the region.