KATHMANDU, Oct 31: It seems that the ongoing economic blockade by India and the impact of earthquake hasn't deterred adventure seekers from trekking in Nepal. Though number of foreigners coming to Nepal is significantly down, the number of free individual trekkers (FITs) hasn't seen much decline.
According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), a total of 895 FITs applied for Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS) in September. Of them, only 53 cancelled their trip. Last year, 1,009 FITs trekked in Nepal in September. Data shows number of FITs have dropped by only 19 percent.
Sarad Pradhan, media consultant of NTB, said FITs love to take challenges and want to try and experiment new places on their own" "Despite the impact of the earthquake and difficulties due to the economic blockade from mid-September, FITs are trekking in the hills, enjoying peace, nature and the beauty that Nepal's trekking routes have to offe"," added Pradhan.
NTB issues TIMS cards to FITs, while Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal TAAN distributes TIMS cards to trekkers traveling in groups. Statistics of NTB and TAAN shows more than 2,200 trekkers enjoyed trekking in Nepal after the earthquake till August. Similarly, 387 FITs enjoyed trekking in Nepal after the April earthquake till August.
Robin Boustead, director of Great Himalayan Trail Alliance said Nepal is world's best destination for solo trekking mainly because of the landscape, the service and the freedom one can enjoy" "Trekking without a guide is part of the 'Freedom of the Hills' concept. It is viewed as the 'ideal' trekking experience by the entire industr"," said Boustead.
FITs are mainly heading to Annapurna, Everest and Langtang.
Chandra Prasad Rijal, president of TAAN, said FITs take decision on their own and are not afraid of taking risks" "Group trekkers, on the other hand, want everything planned as they rely on their travel planner and trekking agent"," said Rijal.
Beatrice Hearne from Devon, a county in southwest England, told Republica that there are many trekkers in Annapurna Base Camp trail at the moment" "Local tourism entrepreneurs, however, say the number is down 40 percent year compared to last yea"," she added.
Published on: My Republica (October 31,2015)