Travel News and Events

Trekkers need TIMS cards from April 1

As of 27 May 2010

Foreign trekkers have been required to obtain a Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card before they set off for the mountains.

The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect on March 18.

Under the new provision, trekkers using the services of a trekking agency will be required to pay US$ 10 for the TIMS card from April 1. Similarly, free individual trekkers will be charged US$ 20 per trekking route.

Tourism entrepreneurs said that a large number of visitors come to Nepal to go trekking, but the government receives little revenue from this sector.

"The government does not have any information on the number of trekking agencies or the number of trekkers they serve," said Jyoti Adhikari, former president of TAAN.

He said that lack of supervision and control over the mushrooming trekking agencies had made it difficulty to calculate how much revenue was being generated from the trekking sector.

"A majority of the agencies are operating without being registered for value added tax (VAT)," he added.

The TIMS card is expected to bring transparency into the operations of trekking agencies and reveal their actual number and volume of transactions. "The TIMS card regulation has compelled unregistered agencies to come under the tax net," Adhikari said.

TAAN general secretary Rajendra Bajgai said that the TIMS card would help increase government revenue. The new system should increase revenue by around 70 percent besides checking illegal activities on the trekking routes, he added. About 80 percent of the trekking agencies are not registered for VAT. More than 710 trekking agencies are registered with the Department of Industry.

Walking in the Himalayan foothills is one of the most popular adventure activities in Nepal. There were 116,000 trekkers in 2009.