Monday, October 1, 2012

TAAN launches new trekking programmes at Humla

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is preparing to operate trekking at Humla.
TAAN had identified five new destinations — Taplejung, Gorkha, Solukhumbu, Dolpa and Humla. The association has already started trekking at Taplejung, Gorkha, Solukhumbu and Dolpa and now it is preparing to launch trekking programmes at Humla.

A beautiful view of a Humla village (file photo)
“We have been receiving a positive response to the new trekking trails, and we are sure we will get a good number of trekkers when we start operating the trail at Humla,” said chief executive officer of TAAN Ganga Ram Pant.
According to Pant, TAAN in coordination with SNV-Nepal, is developing new trekking trails to promote tourism. Among the total tourist arrivals in the country, about 35 per cent arrive for trekking. In 2011–2012, the trekking business earned a total foreign currency of $ 50 million.
To promote trekking and facilitate trekkers, TAAN and Nepal Tourism Board have already reduced the trekking charge by about 72 per cent for trekkers from SAARC nations. Earlier, trekkers from SAARC countries had to pay Rs 700, while the new trekking charge is Rs 200 per trekker.
Whereas, the Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card rate for trekkers from countries other than the SAARC region is still the same –– $ 10 for an individual TIMS card and $ 20 for groups.
To guarantee safety and security of trekkers, it will also operate TIMS software within a month.
The TIMS agreement, signed in 2010, was recently reviewed by both NTB and TAAN. According to the revised agreement, the joint fund of TIMS will only have representatives from NTB and TAAN. Earlier, the TIMS joint fund also included a representative from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
“There are various issues related to TIMS but currently we are focusing on the TIMS software,” he said. TIMS is a system developed by TAAN, and NTB is the authorised organisation for collecting taxes through it. However, the involvement of other players in distributing TIMS card and collecting taxes has created unnecessary problems.
The software was developed to ensure security of tourists and check illegal operations. It will make sure tourists at different trekking routes are safe. Under it, a trekker has to fill up a form with all the personal details and programmes throughout the stay, and the information will be recorded in the TIMS software.

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