Collection of tourist entry fee starts in Khumbu

SALLERI, SOLUKHUMBU: The Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality has started collecting tourist entry fee from October 1 revoking the trekker information management system (TIMS) card.

The RM stated that it collected tourist entry fee from 101 foreign tourists since October 1 at the rate of Rs 2000 from each tourist.

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) had been charging Rs 2,000 from each foreign tourist through the TIMS card for 11 years now.

A meeting of the RM executive committee on July 9 had decided to ban the TIMS card system and itself raise tourist entry fee, citing the NTB and TAAN failed to carry out any tourism promotion works in the Khumbu region despite collecting the fee.

A TIMS card check post at Monjo has been removed on October 1 based on the decision of the committee.

A tourism entrepreneur Namgel Sherpa said the tourists have been overcharged with this decision of the rural municipality executive committee.

He argued that a tourist had to pay total Rs 5,399 in the past whereas now he/she has to pay Rs 7,399 after the imposition of the tourist entry fee by the rural municipality.

Tourism entrepreneurs are of the view that the tourism sector would be hit by the rural municipality's this decision in the context of the NTB and TAAN given the responsibility of distributing the TIMS card.

TAAN General Secretary Karna Lama said this immature decision of the rural municipality would ultimately have negative consequences to the rural municipality itself. He called for immediate correction of the decision.

Chairman of the RM Ngim Dorji Sherpa, however, argued that they determined the tourist entry fee in exercise of their constitutional right.