Saturday, May 19, 2012

Revenue leakages due to arbitrary TIMS cards distribution rise

The government has been losing revenue due to arbitrary distribution of Trekkers’ Management Information System (TIMS) cards, alleged trekking guides.
The government had introduced Trekkers’ Management Information System cards from April 1, 2010 to make trekking more safe but the arbitrary distribution of the cards has hurt the revenue, they said.
“Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) are jointly implementing the TIMS but the delay in appointment of NTB board and chief executive has delayed the regulation of the TIMS that is expected to make it more effective, said president of TAAN Mahendra Singh Thapa.
The trekkers are increasing but the trekking business has not seen any increment, he said, attributing the largely unregulated trekking agencies for the revenue leakages.
The government had scrapped trekking permit system but failed to bring the regulation that would help regulate the sector resulting in not only loss of revenue but also giving foreign trekking companies open field that has hit the domestic trekking agencies, he added.
NTB and TAAN had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 18, 2010 to implement the TIMS system under a new format from April 1, 2010. Under the MoU, they have introduced separate TIMS cards for Free Individual Trekkers (FITs) and organised groups trekkers.
The individual trekkers need to have green TIMS cards that costs $20 per person, while those travelling in groups need to have blue TIMS cards worth $10 per person. "However, there is no records of blue TIMS card bought by the group trekkers," the agencies blamed, adding that the individual trekkers should also be checked till the TIMS software comes into practice as it could neither create employment nor revenue.
However, Thapa claimed that the software is ready and will come into operation that will help track trekkers in case they lost their way or have any accident on the trekking route.
Trekkers taking the service of trekking agencies can pay fee for TIMS card in US dollar, whereas the individual will pay Nepali currency equivalent to $20.
The revenue is shared equally among the NTB, TAAN and a fund that is established to promote trekking and rescue the porters.
In 2011, the TIMS card fetched Rs 80 million and this year — 2012 — it is expected to fetch Rs 100 million, but it could have been more, if the system has been implemented with proper regulation and card distribution channel as the number of trekkers is increased, the agencies added.


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