Nepal Tourism Board and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal will finally come up with the amended Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) software.
According to president of TAAN Ramesh Dhamala, NTB has made some amendments in the existing TIMS policy and as soon as the processes are cleared the association along with NTB will come forward with plans to launch the TIMS software.
“There have been some changes made in the TIMS policy, therefore unless everything is sorted out we will not be able to launch the software,” said Dhamala. He, however, refused to divulge the amendments made due to official reasons.
It has been more than two years since TAAN tried to introduce a new TIMS software but due to revenue issues, it had failed to do so. According to trekking guides, the government has been losing out on revenue due to the arbitrary distribution of TIMS cards. The government had introduced the TIMS cards on April 1, 2010, to make trekking safer.
NTB and the association have been implementing TIMS but the process was always under a cloud due to the lack of required regulations of TIMS that are expected to make it more effective. The government had scrapped the trekking permit system but failed to bring a regulation that would help regulate the sector resulting in not only loss of revenue but also giving foreign trekking firms an open field that has hit domestic trekking firms.
NTB and TAAN had signed a memorandum of understanding on March 18, 2010, to implement the TIMS system under a new format from April 1, 2010. Under the MoU, they have introduced separate TIMS cards for individual trekkers and organised group trekkers.
Individual trekkers need to have a green TIMS card that costs $20 per person, while those travelling in groups need to have a blue TIMS card worth $10 per person.
However, since 2012, NTB along with TAAN, has reduced its TIMS card rate by 71.43 per cent for trekkers from SAARC nations. Trekkers from SAARC countries earlier had to pay Rs 700, while now the revised rate for SAARC nationals is Rs 200 per trekker. Whereas, TIMS card rate for trekkers from countries other than the SAARC region is still the same.
Source: The Himalayan Times