Kathmandu: Nepal plans to ban solo trekkers from visiting restricted and remote places in the Himalayas following growing incidents of foreigners, mostly women, who disappeared or were murdered while trekking alone.
"Government is discussing a proposal which will make it mandatory for tourists visiting these areas to be accompanied by at least one porter or guide," said Balkrishna Ghimire, spokesperson at Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
"A few cases of disappearances and murder of trekkers have damaged the image of the country, which depends largely on tourism for foreign exchange earnings," he said.
He added compulsory tourist guide for solo trekkers would provide both security and help to them. However, the government has not yet set any deadline to introduce such guidelines.
"A few tourists, who have gone for trekking in Langtang area in the North-East Nepal has gone disappeared recently. It has tarnished the image of the country. Such a provision may be introduced in the high altitude area and the Himalayan region situated in northern Nepal," Ghimire said.
A Belgian tourist, Debbie Maveau, 23, was missing for two weeks and later her decomposed body was found at Langtang National Park in June this year.
Similarly, American tourist Lene Sessions, 22, who was threatened with sexual assault by an unidentified man in December last year while 27-year-old Briton, Zisimos Souflas, had disappeared in April when he was travelling solo in Khumbu region.