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TIMS cards mandatory in all trekking areas from next week

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.

Source: Myrepublica

 

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TIMS software to have some amendments

Nepal Tourism Board and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal will finally come up with the amended Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) software.

According to president of TAAN Ramesh Dhamala, NTB has made some amendments in the existing TIMS policy and as soon as the processes are cleared the association along with NTB will come forward with plans to launch the TIMS software.

“There have been some changes made in the TIMS policy, therefore unless everything is sorted out we will not be able to launch the software,” said Dhamala. He, however, refused to divulge the amendments made due to official reasons.

It has been more than two years since TAAN tried to introduce a new TIMS software but due to revenue issues, it had failed to do so. According to trekking guides, the government has been losing out on revenue due to the arbitrary distribution of TIMS cards. The government had introduced the TIMS cards on April 1, 2010, to make trekking safer.

NTB and the association have been implementing TIMS but the process was always under a cloud due to the lack of required regulations of TIMS that are expected to make it more effective. The government had scrapped the trekking permit system but failed to bring a regulation that would help regulate the sector resulting in not only loss of revenue but also giving foreign trekking firms an open field that has hit domestic trekking firms.

NTB and TAAN had signed a memorandum of understanding on March 18, 2010, to implement the TIMS system under a new format from April 1, 2010. Under the MoU, they have introduced separate TIMS cards for individual trekkers and organised group trekkers.

Individual trekkers need to have a green TIMS card that costs $20 per person, while those travelling in groups need to have a blue TIMS card worth $10 per person.

However, since 2012, NTB along with TAAN, has reduced its TIMS card rate by 71.43 per cent for trekkers from SAARC nations. Trekkers from SAARC countries earlier had to pay Rs 700, while now the revised rate for SAARC nationals is Rs 200 per trekker. Whereas, TIMS card rate for trekkers from countries other than the SAARC region is still the same.

Source: The Himalayan Times

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