Trekkers Information System – Promoting Safety

The majestic mountain peaks of Mount Everest, Annapurna, Manaslu, Lhotse, and others like them in Nepal, have attracted thousands of trekkers each year. Some enjoy casual trekking to purely take in the landscapes and marvel at nature; while others come to Nepal to challenge their bodies, their minds and their determination.

The booming trekking industry in Nepal has led to many illegal trekking agents sprouting up, sending inexperienced guides and aids with visitors, sometimes putting lives in danger and leading so some aids being paid minimal wages for their work. Most of the time authorities have no idea how many trekkers are using certain routes, how many are on the mountains at one particular time and are not informed when an emergency arises until it is too late. To promote safety on the mountains and to the visitors of Nepal, the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal and the Nepal Tourism Board have combined their efforts and released the new Trekkers Information System, or TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System), to go online from 2008.

The Trekkers Information System will force all trekkers to collect a TIMS certificate from the Tourism Board before taking to the mountains. The certificates are free of charge and can be obtained from registered and legal trekking agencies. Trekkers will also have to state if they will be trekking on their own or in a group, with group trekking certificates allowing aids to be hired to accompany the group. The new system will also prevent trekkers from hiring aids along the route, promoting skilled labor and employment. In regard to safety, the TIMS system will also allow authorities to calculate the number of people on a route and enables them to assist with emergency situations with greater accuracy.

Illegal trekking agencies will therefore be forced to comply with the law or withdraw from the industry. Many people fear that the introduction of the Trekkers Information Management System might negatively affect the trekking industry, but authorities are more focused on the safety and well-being of visitors to the country. Hiring trained aids and working through legal trekking agencies will promote safety on all the trekking expeditions and will ensure that tourism remains a major industry, while providing visitors with essential services and peace of mind.