Nepal’s Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS)

Over the past couple of years, Nepal has established itself as a paradise for trekkers, attracting people from all over the globe to explore its wonderful terrain. This comes as no surprise considering that Nepal has numerous scenic hills and mountains, along with the magnificent Terai. True enough, the country offers some of the most spectacular trekking areas in the world.

Unfortunately, Nepal’s growing popularity as a trekking destination has its own set of cons. Most noteworthy is the difficulty in keeping track of trekking operations, posing problems for local authorities who have to perform rescue operations in case of accidents or calamities. With the safety of trekkers in mind, the Nepali government came up with a brilliant solution: the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems or TIMS.

The Trekkers’ Information Management Systems was first implemented on January 1, 2008. The maintenance and overseeing thereof is under the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

What is the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems?

Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS)

Simply speaking, the TIMS is a database maintained by the TAAN and the NTB. The said database contains information on individuals who want to go trekking in Nepal. The provision on TIMS is designed so as to provide a mechanism by which illegal trekking operations in Nepal can be controlled, especially with so many people from different parts of the globe flocking to

Nepal for trekking. In addition to curbing illegal trekking operations, the TIMS is also designed so as to guarantee both the safety and security of trekkers in Nepal. By utilizing a Prompt Information Service, it becomes a lot easier to track not only trekking activities, but also the activities of individual trekkers. This comes particularly handy during rescue operations and in averting unfortunate eventualities which might come about as a result of natural disasters.

Basically, the TIMS serves as a response to events in the past wherein rescuers find difficulty in carrying out operations considering the lack of centralized information as to the trekkers in each particular trekking site as well as to their itineraries. By maintaining such database, it has thus become more convenient for authorities to find missing trekkers, as well as to regulate trekking activities in the country.

How does the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems work?

Since the effectivity of the TIMS provision, trekking agencies have started collecting information pertaining to trekkers in Nepal. This information is then entered into a central database. Once the pertinent details have been entered into the TIMS database, a TIMS card is then issued to the trekkers after payment of the requisite fees.

Having a TIMS card is a requirement before any individual can trek anywhere in Nepal. This requirement, however, is subject to certain exceptions. That said, having a TIMS card is not necessary in order to go trekking in Nepal in the following cases:

  1. When the trekker is a member of an expedition and has a mountaineering permit duly issued by the Nepali government and the Nepal Mountaineering Association;
  2. When the trekker is a visitor to the controlled areas and possesses a permit issued by the Department of Immigration;
  3. When the trekker is a foreign guest or visitor invited by the government of Nepal;
  4. When the trekker is an authority from any of the diplomatic missions in Nepal holds an official letter. It must be noted, however, that such authority is deemed to travel at their own risk;
  5. When the trekker is a visitor on a mission specifically recommended by the relevant governmental department or agency; and
  6. When the trekker is a foreign national holding a residential visa.

Why is the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems necessary?

Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS)The TIMS is necessary because it regulates the growing trekking industry in Nepal – a venture that is profitable but not without accompanying dangers. Having a centralized database containing information on trekkers and trekking routes are useful in maintaining the trekkers’ safety and security.

By compiling information on each individual trekkers’ itinerary (e.g., trekking routes, handling agencies, stay duration), all concerned agencies will be better equipped to respond to the needs of trekkers. Information inputted into the database can be made accessible not only to government agencies, but also to tourism organizations, tour operators, and even diplomatic missions.

Moreover, since the TIMS operates in such a way as to control unauthorized trekking operations, it guarantees better trekking services for trekkers. This is a definite advantage not only for the trekkers themselves, but also for trekking companies as well as government agencies. This helps in preventing mishaps and accidents in trekking areas, all the while guaranteeing the sustainability of the trekking industry in Nepal.

What are the requirements for getting a TIMS card?

As previously mentioned, the provision on the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems mandates that every trekker be issued first with a TIMS card before they can go trekking in Nepal. So what are the requirements before one could get a TIMS? They are as follows:

  1. Passport (prepare a photocopy); and
  2. Two passport-sized photos

What information must be provided when getting a TIMS card?

Aside from the requirements above, trekkers must also provide other pieces of information relevant to their trekking activities in Nepal. Make sure that you have the following information ready when you apply for a TIMS card:

  1. Entry and exit dates for trekking. You may provide a rough estimate;
  2. Entry and exit points for trekking;
  3. Trekking route as well as itinerary;
  4. Emergency contact information while in Nepal. If you have a tour agency, you may provide them as emergency contact;
  5. Emergency contact information in your home country; and
  6. Insurance policy number, including their contact information and a statement of your insurance policy coverage.

Where to get a TIMS card?

The process of getting a TIMS card varies between individual trekkers and those who are part of an organized group, for free individual trekkers, they can obtain a TIMS card in various locations. They are as follows:

  1. Nepal Tourism Board offices located in Kathmandu and Pokhara;
  2. TAAn Secretariat located in Maligaon; and
  3. TAAN Secretariat in Pokhara.

The NTB offices have the same office hours as other government agencies in Nepal. The TIMS counter office at Kathmandu is open seven days a week and remains open even on public holidays. TAAN Secretariats, meanwhile, are open from 10 AM to 5 PM.

For organized trekkers, the trekking companies are the ones in charge of collecting the trekkers’ information and inputting the same into the TIMS database. After paying the requisite fee, they will also be providing the trekkers with the TIMS card. Trekking companies are typically open 12 hours a day everyday, although the actual operating hours may vary from one trekking agency to another.

That said, trekkers who do not want to go through the hassle of applying for the TIMS card themselves may sign up for an organized trekking. This is an especially viable option for first-time trekkers who can greatly benefit from trekking with a group and a having a trekking agency take care of the necessary paperwork.

What are the requisite fees that must be paid when getting a TIMS card?

Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS)The requisite fees for obtaining a TIMS card also varies depending on the person applying for the said card. The fees that are required to be paid are as follows:

  1. For group trekkers – NRs. 1,000
  2. For free individual trekkers – NRs. 2,000

Note that the aforementioned fees are paid per trekking route and per point of entry.

For SAARC countries, different rates apply. The adjusted fees are as follows:

  1. For group trekkers – NRs. 300
  2. For free individual trekkers – NRs. 600

Note that the aforementioned fees are paid per trekking route and per point of entry.

Diplomats, meanwhile, are exempted from paying the aforementioned fees.
A portion of the TIMS card fees collected is allocated to the maintenance of the TIMS database, as well as in funding of rescue and emergency services to trekkers.

It must be noted that the TIMS card is non-transferable and non-endorsable. In addition, it is also valid for one entry and only in the prescribed trekking area. The validity of the TIMS card is also only for the duration indicated by the trekker during application.

Obtaining a TIMS card may not be particularly bothersome for organized trekkers, but it is a bit of a hassle for free individual trekkers. Nevertheless, the fees are minimal and the application for a TIMS card is quite straightforward, so the cons certainly outweigh the pros. By being part of the TIMS database, a trekker is afforded with more assistance and security while trekking. In case of untoward incidents, TIMS-registered trekkers are easier to find and rescue.

The provision for the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems is without a doubt a great move on the part of the government of Nepal. After all, not only does the TIMS database serve the interests of trekkers and trekking agencies, but it also helps the government in regulating trekking tourism within the country.

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