Kathmandu, June 10
Trekking Guide Association of Nepal (TGAN) is preparing to launch protest programmes after the government failed to address their demands of removing tax collection at national parks and not giving permission to individual trekkers.
TGAN has submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation today.
Prior to this, TGAN had submitted a request letter to the government and tourism-related organisations.
However, as the association has not heard back from any of the concerned bodies, it has decided to launch protests.
“Our demand with the government was to stop issuing Free Individual Trekker (FIT) permit and to stop collecting guide fee at national parks,” said Sarki Sherpa, general secretary of TGAN. Sherpa claimed that the trekking guides are losing their employment due to FIT.
Thus, TGAN has asked the government to scrap FIT permits and bring a policy of hiring guides compulsorily during treks. Currently, Nepal Tourism Board has been issuing FIT permits while Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal issues the Group Trekkers permits.
TGAN has also objected to national parks collecting fees from guides. 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.
“We agree to pay for wildlife reserves as we don’t have any idea on nature guidance and we have to hire nature guides. But for high altitude trekking, it is unfair to collect charge from trekking guides,” Sherpa said, adding, “However, the government has remained silent on this issue.” He further said that if the government again fails to address their demands, they will launch their protest programmes.
A version of this article appears in print on June 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.