Foreigners will have to get Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) cards for all trekking areas in the country starting next week.
A joint meeting of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) held on Monday took the decision.
Though a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of TIMS signed by NTB and TAAN on March 19 had made TIMS mandatory in all trekking areas of the country, the two agencies had delayed implementation of the new MoU citing lack of preparation.
So far TIMS is mandatory in trekking trails in Everest, Langtang and Annapurna regions only.
As per the new MoU, foreigners heading to Kanchanjunga, Makalu-Barun, Everest, Rolwaling, Panchpokhari-Bhairavkunda, Langtang-Helambu, Ganesh Himal-Ruby Valley, Manaslu, Annapurna Region, Mustang, Dolpa, Rara and Humla must get TIMS cards.
“We couldn’t implement the new MoU right after it was signed as we needed time to inform trekking agencies, print TIMS card and arrange logistics. Now, we will implement mandatory TIMS provision from next week,” TAAN President Ramesh Prasad Dhamala said.
Ramesh Adhikari, administrative chief of NTB, said that NTB will issue TIMS cards for Free Individual Trekkers (FITs) from its head office in Kathmandu and its Pokhara office, while TAAN will issue TIMS cards for group trekkers as well as FITs from its office at Maligaun and TIMS Counter in Thamel.
As per the new provision, group trekkers will be issued ‘blue’ TIMS card upon payment of Rs 1,000, while FITs will get ‘green’ TIMS card after paying a fee of Rs 2,000 each. Similarly, mountaineers with climbing permits issued by Department of Tourism (DoT) and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) will get ‘yellow’ TIMS cards by paying a fee of Rs 2,000 each. Similarly, group trekkers and FITs from SAARC countries will have to pay a fee of Rs 300 and Rs 600, respectively.
Foreigners working with government agencies or diplomatic missions need to acquire TIMS card by paying a fee of Rs 500 each. They, however, are required to submit their detailed itinerary and official request letter from their employers.
As per the MoU, TAAN will levy 100 percent penalty on trekkers if they fail to produce TIMS cards at the check posts. However, they can swap the permit taken for one area to another area in case of unavoidable circumstances by submitting an application within a week of issuance of cards.
“To ensure that the trekkers have taken TIMS cards before start of the trek, we will mobilize a monitoring team in different trekking areas,” said Adhikari.
Of the total revenue collected through TIMS, NTB, TAAN, and joint fund of NTB and TAAN will get 30 percent each, while remaining 10 percent will go to Worker’s Welfare Fund, according to the MoU.