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NEPAL: PETITION against ban on individual trekking


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This topic is new to this board, but heavily discussed on several other travelboards ever since mid July.

BACKGROUND

Nepal announced the introduction of a Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC), to be obtained through government-authorized trekking agencies only, implying the need to tell in advance exactly where you'll be going, and POSSIBLY also implying that as of October 1st people cannot

a] hire their own guide and/or porter(s) anymore, and

b] are not allowed anymore to trek (hike) alone ("independently").

This "alone" not necessarily meaning alone = solo, but: without officially registered trekkingguides. Example: also a pair or a group (with or without many previous years of Nepal trekking experiences) would violate the law if they set out on the trails nót accompanied by registered personnel. Behaviour that could, legally, lead to heavy fines and (at least theoretically) even to imprisonment of the foreign trekker(s).

The latter, the "independent trekking issue" is still very much in discussion, also inside Nepal it seems.

There is absolutely no clarity to what will happen as of October 1, or even where these TRC's can be bought and where not. Foreign trekkers who are - without a TRC - IN the mountains on October 1 already and scheduled to descend only after that date, have no idea if they can be fined in that situation. People (foreign trekkers) who've contacted the TAAN or the NTB (Nepal Tourism Board) over the past month, received contradictory answers to many questions. And they never received clear answers re. independent trekking. In terms of information, it's one, big mess.

There are many among the foreign and experienced Nepal trekkers who feel the whole thing as a powergrab and a money-grab from Kathmandu, which will result in the non-organised guides and porters losing all their business and income. So of course there is great opposition against these news rules, on many travelboards. Although the idea to monitor trekkers for safety reasons, is of course appreciated. But it's hard to understand how effective that will all be. And why would only the travelagencies that are members of the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) "benefit"? Not really in terms of money (the new TRC is said to cost some NR 250), but because all their other colleagues/competitors would be out of business in one, big blow...

So for those here on Fjellforum who didn't know yet and think they may be affected by these new laws, here are a few links to discussions elsewhere on Nepal, its TAAN and its TRC. And this post will be followed by the text of a PETITION for independent trekking, launched by the webmaster of the Austrian/German Trekkingforum yesterday.

Some background/discussion elsewhere (English & German):

YetiZone, 1 - YetiZone, 2

Trekinfo, 1 - Trekinfo, 2

Thorn Tree, 1 - Thorn Tree, 2 - Thorn Tree, 3

Trekkingforum, 1 - Trekkingforum, 2 - Trekkingforum, 3 "TRC - Petition für Individualtrekking "

Text of the official TAAN Press Release regarding the TRC

So to those of you here who agree that the introduction of trekkers permits

should nót mean the end of independent trekking: PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION !

.

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=> Link to the PETITION on Trekkingforum.com

Full text:

Welcome to Trekkingpetition.Nepal.Site

http://trekkingpetition.nepal.st

TAAN (Trekking Agents Association of Nepal) has set up new rules for trekking in Nepal. It contains the implementation of a Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC) to prevent unofficial travel agencies, freelancer guides, travel-organising hotels, foreign guides etc. from organising and guiding foreign trekkers in Nepal. It also includes substantial improvements concerning safety and recording.

As these are good improvements we support the new TRC. But it also means that you will be obliged to trek with a registered guide from an agency. You are not allowed to trek on your own any more. Even if you know your way, even if you are an experienced trekker, even if you have trekked around Annapurna several times.

The TRC will be available for buying at registered trekking agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara. We strongly ask to allow individual trekkers buying a TRC and set off for their trek individually! Please support us and sign!

SIGN OUR PETITION

View Signatures

TRC

Links & Banners

Tell a friend

There are concerns that the implementation of the Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC) means the ban of individual organised trekking in Nepal.

Although the idea of a TRC is a good one, is must not mean that you would be forced to hire guide and porters from a registered trekking agency. If one wants to trek on his own, carry his own backpack and set off, one should be able to buy this TRC from an agency and to do so!

That's what we are asking you to sign for.

Supported by these forums:

Trekkingforum.com

more sites

Promote it in your forum by opening a thread and discussing the issue by linking to

http://trekkingpetition.nepal.st or by placing a banner and get listed here!

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  • 2 weeks later...

^ ^ ^

up you go

387 signatures up till now: LINK

No discussion here, which is not really surprising since Fjellforum's main focus is of course not trekking in Nepal. But over on other travelboards for trekking in Nepal's Himalayas, unfortunately it's really one, big, sad mess of discussions, confusions and irritations: mainly because nobody manages to make the Nepalese authorities give clear, solid information on what to expect as of October 1.

If any marketing school wants to study a clear example of "how do I kill a part of my tourism industry?", they should study the implementation of the TRC in Nepal this fall...

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Thank you for your information. I have signed off course. Guess there aren't so many users of Fjellforum that is going to this area, but this was certainly new information to me, and not a good one.

I actually thought that the government in Nepal didn't have so much influence except for in the Khumbu Valley and Kathmandu. Last autumn I met a lot of people trekking around in the Annapurna region without guide or porter. They paid the Maoists if they met them, but the government was non-excistent in this area then.

This way of Tea-House trekking is absolutely perfect, and actually a lot of low budget trekkers is using this opportunity to get around in the area from Phokara for instance. It will be a great loss for Nepal if this new regulation is getting into force.

Actually I don't understand why the Nepalese government would bother. Thought they had more important stuff do deal with.

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Unlike many of the other Himalayan countries, Nepal is (or maybe was) a perfect place for independent trekking/travelling. No visa required before entering Nepal, no permits to be obtained beforehand unless moving into very "remote" areas and/or above 6000m elevation. Hardly any hazzles at all. One could experience the freedom of walking arround in the hills, whithout any concerns of trespassing and/or violating local legislation.

I must admit this smells corruption a long way. The big trekking agencies (probably in connection with some persons in the government) will benefit largely, while the small local operators will dissapear. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Simple but sad.

My belief is that the independent trekkers are far better for the local community than the groups. The independent trekkers decide themselves in which teahose to stay, eat and sleep, while groups often get into cramped places with good business, usually prearranged by a greedy guide who charge insane amount of money (commision), by Nepalese standard, to bring customers to a certain teahose. Not all teahouses can afford that, thus they have to survive on random trekkers. It's so much undercover business in the hills, you won't believe it....

I'm sad to know that the time of independent trekking, and freedom in the hills, belongs to the past. I have so many fine memories of the days and weeks spent independently in the mountains of Nepal, where I could decide the schedule, route and progress. That's my definition of freedom !!!

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Hi Kjiver, hi Lyngve,

Yes, I agree it's a big, big shame. And for Nepal too if this goes on, because in the meantime some agencies have started to behave rather unfriendly, if not rude, on a few travelboards.

(I'll be the first to admit that some trekkers and myself as well haven't been very polite either lately on these boards all the time, but nevertheless). It seems that quite a number of the real "established, well-to-do" Kathmandu agencies don't care the least about independent trekkers. In fact, some begin suggesting that they don't care at all if the independent trekkers would as of now stay away:

Raj, of Thirdpole, to yakshaver on YetiZone

part of an e-mail from mr. Tank Prasad Ojha to Andrées de Ruiter, in Germany, who mailed a great many contacts in view of tourism in Nepal to speak of his worries and disagreement with the new TRC/TAAN rules. And that part of the e-mail now shown on YetiZone, really isn't the worst part of the whole mail. It's odd: Mr. Ojha is no trekking agent yet claims to be a Geoscientist and Project Research Coordinator of the Himalayan Tibet Research Group of a University in Arizona (United States). Why is he so much against independent trekking in the Himalayas? Afraid that trekkers will steal the mountains away?

The Petition, by the way, now has 482 confirmed signatures!, also thanks to the participation/support from Fjellforum members/readers!

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