‘Implement search and rescue guideline effectively or face music’

Kathmandu, September 25

Department of Tourism (DoT) has issued a notice today warning the travel and trekking agencies that action would be taken against them if they did not follow the guideline on search, rescue, and treatment and monitoring of tourists effectively.

For the convenience of tourists and to maintain their records, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had endorsed the guideline last year. However, the DoT has found the travel and trekking agencies continue to breach the rules even as a year has already passed since the guideline was introduced.

The guideline has prohibited agencies from conducting adventure tourism activities without taking related permission from the department. Meanwhile, the guideline has also made it mandatory for airlines and helicopter companies to submit a report to the government on the total number of rescue flights conducted during a season within 15 days of completion of every season. However, the department has found that the concerned authorities are conducting search and rescue activities without being informed.

The guideline further mentions that agencies involved in the rescue of tourists will have to mandatorily insure tourists and submit the report on various tools used in their rescue, and the details of all the related costs, including hospitalisation charge to the DoT via Tourist Police. Similarly, rescue agencies must compulsorily report to Tourist Police if they are unable to conduct the rescue operation on their own.

“The government had endorsed search and rescue guideline in September, 2018. But, we have discovered that the travel and trekking agencies have not been abiding by the guideline properly. Hence, this notice has been issued to warn them to either follow the guideline or else face the music,” reads the notice.

The MoCTCA had endorsed the guideline last year after it was revealed that the fake

rescue operations were being carried out in the country with involvement of travel

and trekking agencies, in collusion with helicopter companies and hospitals.