The government has reduced the royalty fee for foreigners climbing Mt Everest from the normal route, also known as the South East Ridge, to US$ 11,000 per person with effect from January1 2015. It has also eliminated the existing group royalty system. Under the group royalty system, foreign climbers had to pay as high as $25,000. The government published the new royalty fee structure in the Gazette published on Wednesday. According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), the government reduced the royalty fee based on the suggestion of a committee that it formed last year to recommend revision in mountaineering royalty fee.
Royalty fee for other mountains have also been lowered. Now onwards, foreign climbers need to pay royalty fee in range of $70 to $1,800 per person depending on the height of the mountains they are climbing.
“Individual climbers will benefit from the fresh revision as the individual royalty fee has come down drastically,” Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, joint secretary of MoCTCA, who heads the Tourism Industry Division (TID), told Republica.
Earlier, expedition teams were paying permit fee in the range of $15,000-$70,000 per expedition depending on the route and the number of members. A group could have a maximum of seven members and extra members were charged $10,000 each. Expedition to Mt Everest could have a maximum of 15 members.
“We decided to eliminate the group royalty system to control anomalies like merging different groups into a big group by expedition operators,” Mohan Krishna Sapkota, spokesperson of MoCTCA, said. “Though they apply as a group while seeking permit, they used to form separate groups before beginning their assault on the mountain.” He further added that the new system would benefit the individual climbers as well as the government.
Sapkota also said they were holding talks with the stakeholders to introduce a provision of ´one climber, one guide´ considering the safety of the climbers.
As per the new provision, Nepali climbers can pay permit fee in local currency. Earlier, they were required to pay in US dollar. Permit fee for Nepali climbers have been fixed between Rs 1,000 to Rs 75,000 per person depending on the height, route and the climbing season. They can also apply to the government for royalty waiver.
Earlier, Nepali climbers used to climb Mt Everest as mountain guides as the royalty fee was high. Also, they had to go through a lengthy procedure for royalty waiver. “The new royalty fee system will encourage more Nepalis to climb Mt Everest,” said Burlakoti. The new royalty fee structure for Nepali climbers will come into effect from Thursday