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Nepal embraces digitalisation: Trekking permits go online

In a ground-breaking move, Nepal has bid farewell to decades of paper-based trekking permit applications, ushering in a new era with the introduction of an online system.

Effective since February 23, 2024, this transition is geared towards simplifying the permit issuance process for foreign visitors, bringing about time savings for both trekkers and government officials.

Previously, the cumbersome process involved physically visiting immigration offices and navigating queues. With the advent of the online system, trekkers can now conveniently apply for permits from the comfort of their homes through a dedicated digital platform.

Despite the positive shift, there is a current limitation in the payment process, restricting transactions to Nepali payment channels such as mobile banking apps or local platforms like Connect IPS, E-sewa, and Khalti.
Recognising this constraint, the government has expressed its intention to address the issue through legislative changes, potentially allowing payments in foreign currencies.

Furthermore, in adherence to regulations prohibiting solo trekking in restricted areas, permits for these regions will continue to be exclusively issued through authorised tour operators.

The tourism industry has warmly welcomed this digital transformation. Nilhari Bastola, President of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, lauds the convenience and efficiency brought about by the online system, despite acknowledging an initial learning curve.

He also highlights the positive impact on reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

This online platform represents the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at facilitating visitor entry into Nepal. Notably, the recent implementation of an electronic travel authorization (ETA) system allows tour operators to electronically obtain visas for their clients, eliminating the need for physical visits to immigration offices.

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