The Himalayan Times, May 01, 2019
With a month left for the spring season to end, the government’s collection of expedition royalty has already surpassed the entire collection of last spring season.
According to the Department of Tourism (DoT), expedition royalty worth Rs 487 million has been collected over the last two months, against Rs 460 million collected during the three-month period last year.
As per data compiled by the department, a total of 822 climbers have received expedition permits so far for 27 peaks. Of them, 377 climbers in 38 groups have already left Kathmandu to scale Mount Everest (8,848m) this spring. Among the climbers headed towards Mt Everest, 13 are Nepalis.
As per the department, most of the climbers have already reached the Everest Base Camp.
Of the total royalty collection, Rs 436 million was collected for scaling Mt Everest alone. Likewise, collection of Rs 180 million has been made for scaling Mt Lhotse (8,516m) from 92 climbers so far. Fifty-three climbers have dished out Rs 10 million to summit Mt Makalu (8,463m) and 34 climbers have paid a total of Rs 6.3 million for Kanchenjunga (8,586m). Also, 49 climbers are planning to scale Mt Amadablam (6,814m) by paying a total of Rs 2.1 million.
The department expects the collection amount to increase further as a number of climbers are yet to get their expedition permit.
“We received a large number of applicants, who had not completed the due process and had to be turned back,” informed Rameshwor Niraula, an official of DoT’s mountaineering department.
“We expect them to return after completing the required process and so the royalty collection will surely surge.”
Any climber planning to scale any of the peaks over 6,000m is required to take permission from the DoT. However, they have to submit their documents online before they can seek the expedition permit from the department.
According to Director General of DoT Dandu Raj Ghimire, the department only had records of the collection for the peaks of over 6,000 metres, while the collection for scaling smaller peaks is yet to be calculated. “The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) is authorised to provide the permit for mountains below 6,000m and the association is yet to communicate with us about the collection it has made.”
The NMA is authorised to give permit for 27 smaller peaks. It had collected $1.06 million last year by issuing 1,637 permits to a total of 6,385 climbers.
The government levies $11,000 per person for foreign climbers for expeditions to Mt Everest during spring season, while Nepali climbers have to pay Rs 75,000 per person. For other mountains above 8,000 metres, the government levies $1,800 on foreigners and Rs 10,000 for Nepali climbers.