From September 2012 travellers to Nepal will only be able to go trekking with a registered porter or guide. The decision has been taken in the interest of trekkers' safety after an increase in assaults on lone-walkers.
Groups of holidaymakers wishing to trek in groups are already required to hire a professional guide. However, this new policy means that solo hikers must also go accompanied, regardless of walking ability and experience. To comply with the new rule, individual trekkers must pay the additional small fee of $10. However, the director of tour operator KE Adventure Travel, Tim Greening, announced: "The splendours of trekking in Nepal far outweigh this small rule."
Trekking is one of Nepal's main tourist attractions thanks to the majestic Himalayan Mountains, which offer both novice and expert walking over established trails. Statistics show that Nepal is an increasingly popular destination; the total number of arrivals into Tribhuvan International Airport rose by 18.5 per cent in the first seven months of 2012.
Although the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has no travel restrictions in place for Nepal, it does recommend that British nationals 'do not trek alone' due to recent attacks on foreigners. In keeping with this, the general secretary of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), Mohan Lamsal, declared: "The decision will help promote Nepal as a safe destination for tourists at a time when international media are questioning the safety of foreigners in Nepal."
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