Planning on trekking to Everest Base Camp in the future? If so, it looks like you’ll have to pay a bit more as the local government in Nepal has instituted a new fee. But don’t panic, it isn’t enough to cancel your plans or break your pocket book.
According to The Himalayan Times, the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality in the Solukhumbu District – which is where Everest is located – had decided to impose an entry fee on all foreign visitors. The new fee will go into effect on October 1 and will set travelers back Rs 2000. That equates to about $20.
According to the new constitution passed in Nepal, local governments now have the right to impose such taxes and fees. This is the first time that any region has taken advantage of this option however, as the local government looks to claim a bit of revenue from the more than 35,000 people that visit the Khumbu Valley each year. Most come for trekking and mountaineering purposes.
The money will be used to create improvements in infrastructure throughout the Khumbu and to promote sustainable tourism in the region as well. But, the fear is that the money will be mismanaged by the local government, with much of the revenue somehow finding its way into the hands of politicians rather than actually being put to good use. There are also concerns about more districts across Nepal following suit, possibly charging an entry fee every time a traveler comes and goes. If that were to become the case, it could get a lot more expensive to visit Nepal, keeping some tourists from ever going there.
For now, plans are moving ahead to impose the new tax, despite protests from within the tourism sector. Just what kind of impact it will have remains to be seen however, but it is important that travelers know what to expect when they arrive. A $20 fee isn’t too serious, but multiple $20 fees start to add up quickly. Plan accordingly and take advantage of the time that you spend in a region, particularly the Solukhumbu area. Hopefully, this will be an exception to the rule for traveling in Nepal and not the new normal.
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