New Rules for Trekking in Nepal - Local guides now mandatory


Ever since the April 18 Everest tragedy, when 16 Sherpas died in an avalanche, the Nepal Tourism Board has been grappling with how to make extreme tourism safer within the country.

After months of active discontent from local entrepreneurs, the board has made decisions about how to monitor foreign recreation, trekking in particular.

The unrest ended yesterday with news outlets reporting that protesters' demands had been met: an ousting of Subash Nirola, the board's chief and active CEO; management of a workers' welfare fund; and a new rule stating that all foreign trekkers must be accompanied by local guides.

In addition to safety concerns, those within the tourism industry were concerned about financial irregularities within the board and Nirola's possible abuse of authority. A probe into the board's finances began Thursday.

The Joint Tourism Coordination Committee, headed up by Ramesh Dhalama (also president of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal), has agreed to stop campaigning for change within the board.

Three senior directors are taking over the board, which is resuming services today. Although this is good news for Nepal's tourism industry, it won't make up for financial losses due to an early end to the spring season.

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