TGAN seeks removal of FIT permit

Kathmandu, September 1

The Tour Guide Association of Nepal (TGAN) has demanded the removal of Free Individual Trekkers (FIT) permit for trekking. Submitting a five-point demand today to Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, newly appointed secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), TGAN has urged the ministry to remove the FIT provision.

Citing the ministry has failed to address the demands of trekking guides in its one-year work plan, TGAN has asked the ministry to generate jobs for trekking guides.

“Every year the government itself is producing around 900 trekking guides and if the government does not stop issuing FIT permits then guides will be jobless,” said Sarki Sherpa, general secretary of TGAN. This will not only generate jobs for guides but will also guarantee the safety of trekkers, he added. He further said that the government has to bring a trekking guide policy to regulate the sector.

Along with this, TGAN has also asked the government to ensure the social security of guides. Under the social security title, trekking guides have demanded for 50 per cent discount on health check-up of guides, insurance services and to provide grants to guides in case any trekking guide meets with a serious accident and is unable to continue their work.

Likewise, TGAN has also urged the ministry to scrap the decision of collecting extra charge from trekking guides in national parks and to provide capacity building training frequently. The national parks have started collecting Rs 1,500 as guide fee from this spring season from trekking guides. As per Sherpa, national parks are collecting guide fee under the title ‘Nature Guide’. He, however, said that they are already licensed trekking guides working at high altitudes, so they do not have to pay the nature guide fee.

“Prior to this, we had tabled our demands to Dandu Raj Ghimire, director-general of the Department of Tourism. However, our demands have remained unheard,” he said. “Although he had promised to address our demands nothing has been done till date.”