TAAN faces TIMS card shortage; travelers hit hard

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KATHMANDU, Nepal–Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is facing a shortage of Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) cards, leaving the foreign travelers in the lurch, thanks to the protests intensified by Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC).

Citing irregularities at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), an important ally of TAAN, JTCC is waging protest since two weeks.
The entrepreneurs have begun on a one-week relay hunger strike saying the Tourism Ministry had not addressed their four-point demands. Two dozen entrepreneurs, representing different tourism-related organizations, started the relay hunger strike begining Thursday evening.

TAAN issues TIMS cards to trekkers traveling in groups while Free Independent Tourists (FITs) get TIMS cards from NTB. However, with the protest of JTCC, TAAN issued the cards to FITs as well.

Officials at TAAN confirmed that the association was running out of TIMS cards. TAAN have to purchase TIMS cards from NTB by paying two-thirds of the amount. Trekkers traveling in groups through government authorized trekking agencies have to pay US$ 10 for TIMS card, while those trekking solo have to pay $20.

The entrepreneurs have been protesting against NTB since last 15 days putting forth a four-point demand. They have also demanded exclusion of Subash Nirola from the post of acting CEO to pave the way for the appointment of new CEO, probe into financial irregularities in NTB, among others.

In the meantime, TAAN said it would soon hold discuss with NTB directors on the issue so that the trekkers won’t have to suffer much.

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