Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality introduces hiking fees to promote local trails

Published On: October 29, 2023 10:00 AM NPT By: DHAN BASNET

POKHARA, OCT 29: Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality in Kaski offers a selection of four hiking trails for nature enthusiasts to explore. Among these, two have gained popularity among hikers, while the remaining two have seen fewer visitors. In an effort to bolster tourism, the rural municipality has decided to focus on promoting one specific route.

Recent developments have seen Mardi Himal in Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality emerge as the preferred short trek for domestic tourists. Additionally, the Great Machhapuchhre Trail has experienced increased foot traffic, particularly from domestic tourists. In light of these positive trends, the rural municipality is emphasizing the promotion of the Ghalekhark-Tarahill hiking route.

While data regarding the number of tourists visiting Mardi Himal Trek is currently unavailable, the municipality estimates that around 50,000 internal and external tourists explore Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality annually.

To support the management of hiking trails and facilitate further development, the rural municipality has decided to levy a walking fee on both internal and external tourists. Ram Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur and member of the rural municipality, stated, "We will commence fee collection this week, and the funds raised will be dedicated to trail maintenance and improvement."

The collected fees will also contribute to efforts aimed at providing electricity and internet services throughout the village, constructing an information center, rest areas, and essential toilet facilities.

The notice regarding the fee collection was issued just three days ago, with fees set at Rs 100 for domestic tourists and Rs 500 for foreign tourists. Fee collection will begin at Humal (low-camp), the starting point for the Mardi Himal trek, from this week.

It's important to note that a significant number, approximately 80%, of tourists visiting Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality's hiking routes are domestic tourists. The Khumain-Korchung trek, known for its short, exciting, and adventurous nature, is especially popular among them, with the possibility of completing it in three nights and four days.

Looking ahead, the municipality is considering installing weather-related information devices and forming a rescue team to assist hikers who may get lost on their way during the Mardi Himal trek.

In addition to promoting the Ghalekhark-Tarahill route, the rural municipality is actively engaged in efforts to link Sikles of Madi Rural Municipality with this trail, which passes through Ghalekhark-Tarahil at an elevation of 3,200 meters.

The objective of implementing the hiking fee is to ensure the sustainable management and preservation of the hiking trails. These fees are dedicated exclusively to trail conservation and management. In comparison, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) charges Rs 3,000 from foreign tourists and Rs 1,000 for the Tourist Information Management System (TIMS).

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