Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS):
Nepal has implemented new system for trekkers to control the illegal trekking operation, ensure safety and security by applying a provision of the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS).
Before it was difficult to track missing trekkers and rescue the trekkers having in trouble due to natural calamities and accidents. This is due to there was no proper record system in Nepal to find out exact whereabouts and the information about trekking routes of the trekking. Based on the data collected through TIMS cards, however, it will be possible to know the position of a trekker in case a rescue operation is needed.
As a trekker entering a protected area in Nepal, you will be asked to provide some information about the dates of your trip, the itinerary, and a contact number. These data will be inserted in the visitors’ database, where they can be accessed for park management purposes or in case of accidents and/or natural calamities, in order to inform the concerned institutions about the trekkers inside the park at any time.
TIMS cards should be collected by both Free Individual Trekkers (FITs) and trekkers taking the service of government authorized trekking agencies. This system came in effect on January 1, 2008. Since then, the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) started recording trekkers’ details and began issuing TIMS Card to trekkers.
NTB and TAAN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 18, 2010 to implement the TIMS system in a new format from April 1, 2010. NTB and TAAN have introduced separate TIMS Cards for FITs and organized groups. FITs need to have Green TIMS cards by paying Nepali currency equivalent to US $20 per person, while those travelling in groups need to have Blue TIMS cards by paying Nepali currency equivalent to US $10 per person. Trekkers taking the service of trekking agencies can pay fee for TIMS card in US dollars.
How to obtain a TIMS Card?
TIMS card can be obtained any of the following ways:
Free Individual Trekkers:
Free Individual Trekkers can obtain TIMS cards at the offices of Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and Pokhara, TAAN Secretariat at Maligaon and TAAN Pokhara Secretariat in Pokhara upon filling the TIMS application firm.
Trekking companies will collect trekkers’ data and enter it in the central database and will provide trekkers with a TIMS card after paying fee prescribed above.
TIMS counter at TAAN follows regular working hours (10am-5pm) and 365 days a year.
NTB Offices follow government working hours and days.
Trekking agencies open 12 hours a day seven days a week.
To obtain TIMS Card you need copy of:
Two (2) Passport-size Photographs.
Why is TIMS Necessary?
The first question in your mind might be is TIMS Cards is necessary for Trekking in Nepal? Yes of course, as it records the all-important information about the trekkers and trekking routes in computerized Database Management System, which can be useful for the trekkers’ safety and security. In order to help carry out search and rescue operations for trekkers in case of natural calamities and other accidents by means of Authentic Information Service. TIMS keeps record of personal details of trekkers, trekking area, trekking routes, handling agencies, duration, etc. on system. The data generated from the system will be useful to all concerned stakeholders such as tourism organizations, Government agencies, diplomatic missions, tour operators, research institute, etc.
Unauthorized trekking operations will be controlled, thus, resulting in better management of trekking services, which will not only benefit trekkers and field staff, but also trekking companies and Government agencies. Occasional untoward incidents will also be better prevented. Plus, TIMS will upgrade the service standard and will contribute to better management of sustainable mountain tourism development in Nepal.
TIMS will not be required for:
Expedition members permitted to climb the mountains.
Visitors in the controlled areas with permits by the Department of Immigration.
Foreign guests invited by the Government of Nepal
Authorities from the various diplomatic missions present in the country, who hold official letter/s and travel at their own risk.
Visitors on certain missions recommended by the concerned Governmental Department(s)
Foreign Nationals possessing a residential visa.
Revenue From TIMS cards
Revenue obtained from TIMS cards will be divided into three equals part as follow:
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) will use the first part for printing TIMS cards, holograms, managing issuing counters and use the remaining amount for tourism marketing, publicity and promotion.
The second part is utilized in the welfare of trekking workers like buying medical and accident insurance policy for them and conducting rescue operations in case of accidents. The amount is also used to launch various programs as a part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and meet administrative expenses.
The third part is utilized to develop infrastructures, promote, conserve, maintain trekking trails. A substantial amount is also utilized to explore, develop and promote new destinations besides organizing training and workshops for sustainable and responsible tourism development.
By Anil Blon