Effective April 1, 2023, new requirements established by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and more than a dozen trekking organizations, with the support of Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, will require solo or foreign independent trekkers (FITs) to use a local guide or porter while trekking in Nepal’s official national parks and protected areas.
FITs are already required under rules established by NTB and the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) to obtain a trekkers information management system (TIMS) card before proceeding on treks in managed areas. With Tourism Ministry support, NTB and TAAN have sought establishment of a “One Trekker, One Guide” system since 2012, but previous iterations of the system had been delayed or rescinded after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, inter alia. Failure for TIMS non-compliance may result in fines or removal from protected areas, and similar consequences for non-compliance with new guide rules are expected.
Media reports have noted that some popular trekking regions of Nepal do not intend to comply with new guidelines. The U.S. Embassy has long maintained a “Do Not Trek Alone” warning for American travelers to Nepal and that position remains unchanged. The U.S. Embassy advises all travelers to avail themselves of information regarding local rules and requirements prior to travel. See the Nepal Tourism Board’s Travel Updates for further information: https://ntb.gov.np/en/latest-travel-updates.