Nepal puts ban on independent trekking

by Emily DUNBAR on August 6, 2012

Travellers that intend to trek across the Nepalese Himalayas are soon to be required to follow an official guide in the wake of a string of assaults.

Officials in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu have announced that, as of September onwards, tourist have to trek with at least one porter or guide that has already been registered with the government. While trekkers travelling in a group already need to be assisted by a registered porter or guide, this new rule is for those that would prefer to explore the country’s world-famous mountains alone.

Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs made its decision, which was welcomed by TAAN - the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal – to guarantee the safety of holidaymakers and complete control of all trekking businesses that are currently operating illegally. The move follows the passing of Debbie Maveau, a Belgian citizen aged 23, whose headless body was discovered in June in Langtang National Park - close to the border shared with Tibet.

This incident wasn’t the first of its kind, however, as it followed several other assaults and complete disappearances, such as that of Aubrey Sacco, an American citizen, in 2010. TAAN’s general secretary, Mohan Lamsal, explained that the decision is to aid the promotion of Nepal as a safe country for tourists to visit during times when the global media is questioning whether or not foreigners should give up on his homeland altogether.

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