Ministry prepares regulations for tourist search, rescue, treatment & investigations

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has introduced new regulation “Tourist search, rescue, treatment, and monitoring mechanism 2075” to prevent the ‘Fake rescue’ and to stop helicopter companies charging thousands of dollars to international insurance companies. The government has implemented the regulation from September 1, 2018, to make rescue operations more accessible, systematic, trustable and secure for tourists.

As per the revised regulation, the involvement of Nepal police is mandatory in the rescue operation for tourists. This procedure has now prevented the agents of foreign companies from being involved in search, rescue and tourism treatment.

The ministry has made mandatory for every travel agency to get a permit for conducting a rescue operation. The participated tourists must be an insured person. The regulation implies that it is the first responsibility of the agency to search for lost tourists. The agency is responsible for operating rescue operations or any other alternative ways for finding lost or injured tourists.

The helicopter companies have to inform tourism department through police regarding the instruments used for rescue, rescue costs, healthcare institutes and tourist information. During the rescue operation, the helicopter cannot carry any other passengers or equipments.

The agency must take the patient to a nearby hospital or any health care centre.

Helicopter companies conducting rescue operation should give details of total rescue flight within 15 days after completion of the tourist season. The hospitals must submit bills including information of treatment cost within 15 days after discharging the tourists. The agency must submit the insurance bill every month to the department after claiming for insurance.

Previously, the fact-finding panel criticized that companies even provided food mixing baking soda or laxative or contaminated food to tourists to make them pale and demand for rescue. So the ministry has requested not to do such fraudulent activities and remind that it is the duty of helicopters companies to take good care of tourists.

The ministry also has formed the committee to direct the rescue operation and control fake rescues. The committee consists of Tourism department, Home ministry, Health ministry, Nepal Tourism Board, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Tourism police, Himalaya rescue association Nepal.

The committee functions as a helper to helicopter companies and hospitals for conducting rescue operation more efficiently. The committee sets the air fare according to the flight duration and distance. If any companies do any activities against the law, then the committee will conduct an investigation. Moreover, it will also take strong action if any companies found guilty.

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