POKHARA, Dec 3: Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality of Kaski has collected a total entry fee of Rs 1.2 million from trekkers visiting Mardi, Khumain and Korchang within a month. The rural municipality started collecting entry fees from locals and foreigners from November 3.
According to village executive member Ram Gurung, the maximum number of hikers reached both Mardi and Khumain on November 17. He said that 560 natives and 39 foreign trekkers reached Mardi on that day. "There is a record that 250 Nepali hikers reached Khumain on the same day," said Gurung.
For Machhapuchhre Model Trail, Mardi Himal (Low Camp) and for Khumain-Korchang trek, the rural municipality has started collecting fees. Gurung claims that it has become easier to get the official number and details of the trekkers after entry fee collection was started.
Foreign trekkers are charged an entry fee of Rs 500, while Nepalis trekkers are required to pay Rs 100. Trekkers have increasingly chosen routes like Machhapuchhre Model Trail (Mardi Himal trail), Great Machhapuchhre Trail (Khumain-Korchang trail), and Tara-Hilltop Trail of Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality.
Gurung disclosed that there is a procedural requirement for the entry fees collected at the check post to be deposited in the municipality every 15 days. From November 3 to 17, a total of 2,095 natives and 665 foreigners were recorded to have reached the destination. The count from the Khumain trail is yet to be determined, and calculations for the current month are ongoing, with expectations of further increases in numbers.
The recent village assembly decided to collect fees of trail within the village council. The Economic Act 2080 BS has been approved by the village assembly to collect the entrance fee. The municipality estimates that about 35,000 trekkers visit Mardi Himal every year. Among them, the number of foreign trekkers who reach Mardi is estimated at 7,000.
The rural municipality plans to manage dust bins, tourist information centers and tourist police from the collected funds.