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TimL

Pakistan Peak Fees

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R&I

Pakistan peak fees cut in half January 22, 2002 Pakistan's Federal Minister for Tourism Col. S.K. Tressler announced a 50 percent reduction in peak fee royalties for mountaineering expeditions in 2002.

The announcement came in the wake of a beleaguered tourism industry, which had been affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks. Pakistan hopes to encourage mountaineers and trekkers to visit Pakistan during the "Year of the Mountain."

Currently, less than five mountaineering bookings are still confirmed for 2002, according to Ayub Afridi, Public Relations Director for the Ministry of Tourism. By comparison, Pakistan received a record 74 mountaineering expeditions (above 6,000 meters or in restricted or closed zones) with 453 climbers in 2001. The royalty revenue from these expeditions totaled $555,305. Also, a record 245 registered treks with 1,319 trekkers entered restricted areas, primarily the Baltoro glacier up to K2. The revenue from trekking fees was $67,420.

Some call Pakistan a risky place to climb. However, in the last four decades over 250 climbers and trekkers have died in Pakistan's mountains of accidents, injuries and illness. In the same period, only three foreigners have been murdered. Ned Gillette was killed on August 4, 1999 in Haramosh Valley. On April 27, 2001, two Czech budget hikers Gabriella Gubicova and her friend Petr Polasek, were murdered in Gupis, near Gilgit. (Petr's body has not been found, but he is believed to have been murdered.) Both Gillette and the Czech trekkers were traveling without local guides or porters.

Pakistan's reduced Peak fees for 2002 are as follows:

K2 (8,611 meters): US $6,000 and US $3,000 for each additional member over seven

8,001-8,500 meters: US $4,750 and US $1,000 for each additional member over seven

7,501-8,000 meters: US $2,000 and US $500 for each additional member over seven

7,001-7,500 meters: US $1,250 and US $300 for each additional member over seven

6,000-7,000 meters: US $750 and US $200 for each additional member over seven

Under 6,000 meters: No permit needed in open zones. Trekking fees due if permit is in restricted or closed zones.

Generally, permits are issued before December 31 the year before the expedition occurs. Peak royalty fees must first be deposited in a Pakistan embassy or with the Ministry. However, latecomers will be accommodated this year. Peak royalty fees are reduced and pro-rated if any expedition members are Pakistani citizens. All foreign expeditions must provide Pakistan's Ministry of Tourism with evidence of $20,000 evacuation insurance or guarantee of a $6,000 bond deposited with Askari Aviation (www.askariaviation.com), an embassy, Pakistan tour operator or traveler's checks held in lieu with the Ministry.

In 2001, life insurance for porters doubled to Pakistan Rupees 100,000 (about $1,640). Trekking fees remain $40 per person since 1999. Trekking and climbing permits must be obtained through a licensed Pakistani tour operator, but do not need advance registration. Permits can be obtained in one day in Islamabad.

The Ministry moved in 2000 to the Sport complex in Islamabad on Shahra-e-Kashmir road. The Ministry is open Monday-Friday, 8a.m. to 4p.m., half days on Saturday and closed on Sundays.

Contact: Mr. Ayub Afridi Public Relations Director Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture Sports Complex Building near Abbpara market Islamabad, Pakistan Phone: 011-92-251-9203509 Fax: 011-92-251-9202347 Web: http://www.tourism.gov.pk/ministry_of_tourism.html

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...folks I know of who know the area well enough to cruise in with no more gear than plastic in the wallet, are headed to Nepal instead, even those with local projects...maybe just coincidence, maybe more arty flung over from India, maybe just that many folks over there aren't happy with Americans this year.

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