Clearly this recent down-turn in the economy is effecting us all. The markets across the globe have been on a roller coaster ride for the past few weeks, there is a credit crunch hitting the U.S. and Europe, banks are failing around the world, and I’m afraid to open my 401k statements these days.
But never fear, Pakistan has come up with a way to stimulate the economy, and keep climbers coming back in 2009. According to this report at Everest News, the Ministry of Tourism has announced that climbing fees have been reduced by 50% for 2009. Clearly they are planning ahead to try to keep business brisk and stave off their own economic problems by keeping the mountains accessible for everyone.
Next year, teams heading to K2, for instance, will be charged a mere $6000 for a seven member crew. Each additional climber will be charged $1000. All other mountains are priced according to height, ranging all the way down to $750 for a team of seven, and just $100 more/climber on mountains that range in height from 6501-7000 meters. Mountains less than that have no fees associated with them at all.
For mountaineers thinking of climbing in Pakistan next year, this is great news. It’ll keep the region affordable, even in times when sponsorship dollars may be tough to come by. I also think it’s a great move by Pakistan to announce these cuts now, as it give the teams time to prepare and start planning, when they may have ruled out an expedition next year due to economic issues. Hopefully this will open up the doors for more climbers to head to the Karakorum next year.
I’m hoping to take a trip abroad sometime in the spring myself, and haven’t decided where yet. I’m just hoping I can find some good deals when I do decide to go.
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