Nepal has decided to bar solo or independent trekkers from trekking in Nepal without the help of a guide starting from April 1, a senior official of Nepal Tourism Board said on Friday.
The tourism organization made it mandatory for a sole foreign trekker to take a guide on Thursday.
“The decision was taken considering the safety of such trekkers,” Mani Raj Lamichhane, the board’s spokesperson, told Xinhua.
“We have received 40 to 50 cases of trekkers being out of contact during the treks annually, which conveyed the message to the world that Nepal is not a safe destination,” he explained. “So we decided to promote an organized trekking in Nepal with this decision.”
“Another reason behind this decision is to create more employment opportunities in the country,” he added.
Free and independent trekkers are those who plan their own trips and prefer to travel alone without assistance from trekking agencies. They are considered as price-conscious travelers.
According to Lamichhane, over 46,000 solo foreign trekkers got permission from the tourism board in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The figure was 19,415 in 2022, showed the tourism board data.
The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal has been lobbying for a one-trekker one-guide system since 2012.