A Hiking Mecca Makes a Big Rule Change

Nepal bans solo hikes
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2023 12:11 PM CDT
Updated Mar 12, 2023 12:40 PM CDT
A Hiking Mecca Makes a Big Rule Change
A hiker on the popular Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.   (Getty / Christopher Moswitzer)

Hikers who prefer to trek alone will have to scratch a prime destination off their bucket lists: Nepal. The nation is banning foreigners from embarking on solo hikes starting in April, reports the Hindustan Times. The Nepal Tourism Board says it's all about safety because too many solo hiking trips have ended in tragedy or at least a rescue, per the New York Times. Under the new rules, foreigners will have to go in a group or have a guide accompany them. For modest day hikes, that might mean about $25 to $50, per the Kathmandu Post. But on more strenuous days-long journeys, the price could be $200 per day.

“I’m an advanced trekker,” 30-year-old Natalia Lange of Poland tells the Times. “I don’t need a nanny.” The new rule with its extra costs might force her to scrap a monthlong trip she has been planning for more than a year. Coverage elsewhere includes similar sentiment. There's also some skepticism about the reason, given that the rule change might lead to about 40,000 new jobs in the guide industry, according to the Kathmandu newspaper. For a rough sense of numbers, Nepal had more than 400,000 people visit to hike or climb mountains in 2019, before the pandemic, and more than 45,000 did so alone. (More Nepal stories.)

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