Arpana Ale Magar, My Republica, 20 May 2018
The government has collected a total of Rs 412.8 million in royalty from mountaineering expeditions in the spring season of 2018 so far, as per the data compiled by the Department of Tourism (DoT) under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The royalty collection is as of May 14, from mountaineers coming from 28 different countries. Of them, royalty for the Mount Everest alone stands at Rs 361.4 million.
The amount collected this year in a single season exceeds the royalty collected over the whole year in previous years.
According to the DoT, the government had collected Rs 389.5 million in expedition royalty in 2017. Similarly, in 2016, the government had collected Rs 281.9 million from mountaineering expeditions while the figure was Rs 342.5 million in 2015.
The data compiled by the department excludes the royalty collected by Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) from 27 small peaks.
The rise in royalty indicates recovery of the tourism sector of the country after the 2015 earthquake. Natural disasters had affected Nepal’s mountaineering to some extent, which is now recovering, according to the DoT.
“In a very short duration, the country’s tourism sector has recovered well and so has the mountaineering sector,” said Ram Prasad Sapkota, director of mountaineering section under the DoT.
The government levies US$ 11,000 per person to the foreign climbers of the Mount Everest during spring season, while Nepali climbers have to pay Rs 75,000 per person. For other mountains above 8,000 meters, the government levies $1,800 to foreigners and Rs 10,000 to Nepali climbers. Till now the government has opened 414 peaks for mountaineers to climb, of which 92 peaks are yet to be climbed.
According to the department, 106 teams have received expedition permit this year for 28 different peaks above 6,000 meters, till Thursday. A total of 841 mountaineers including both Nepali and foreigners have received expedition permits for this spring season. Of which, more than 200 climbers have already ascended their targeted peaks, according to the DoT.
“This year the number of climbers is high as compared to the previous years. We will issue more permits if more climbers come for expedition,” Sapkota added. This year has also seen the highest number of climbers receiving the permit for the Mount Everest. The Mount Lhotse stands on the second position for which climbers have received expedition permit. Mustang, Amadablam, Nuptse, and Saribung are the other mountains to receive highest number of climbers, respectively.