The Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is working to fix minimum qualification for guides and porters in its bid to enhance the quality of service provided to trekkers.
According to TAAN President Ramesh Dhamala, discussions are underway to fix minimum qualification for trekkers and porters. “We are planning to change the qualification of guides to SLC passed and porters to Grade 10. However, we are studying the practical aspects of this provision,” said Dhamala.
Not only that. TAAN and different unions of trekking workers have already signed an agreement to bar unlicensed trekking guides from leading groups from January 2015 onwards.
Kul Bahadur Gurung, second vice president of TAAN, said the association was holding discussions with trekking workers unions and trekking agencies regarding enforcement of minimum qualification criteria for trekking guides and porters. “It is better to have the qualification fixed as we can assure trekkers on the quality of service that we are providing them,” Gurung said, adding, “There, however, are some issues that need to be discussed and the practical aspects to be considered before taking decision on the issue.”
To ensure that trekking groups are not affected by the decision to bar unlicensed guides from leading groups, TAAN in coordination with Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) is providing 28-day training to 1,000 porters cum guide.
“The availability of trained guide cum porter will help us get rid of the compulsion of sending two staff - one guide and one porter - with groups as guides do not carry bags and porters do not understand English,” added Gurung.
To apply for the training, interested guides and porters will have to fill a form with their experience letter and photocopy of their citizenship card. TAAN will select them and recommend to NATHM for the training.
TAAN TO CONTROL UNAUTHORIZED AGENCIES
In order to solve the problem of trekkers being cheated and guides facing various problems on trails, TAAN is forming a five-member taskforce to check the status of various trekking agencies.
“We are soon forming a taskforce to check the operation status of trekking agencies,” Gurung said, adding, “We have seen many websites that are selling and operating trekking packages. The taskforce will request them to follow existing rules and regulations and register their agency first.”
TAAN does not have the authority to take action against them, according to Gurung.
Though there are around 1,600 trekking agencies in operation, only about 1,000 of them are associated with TAAN
News Source: Republica