With the pervading threat of an Indo-Pakistani war, catastrophicearthquakes in the mountainous regions, and the effects of the September11th attacks in the US still being felt, Greg Mortenson of the CentralAsia Institute sent us the following (edited) report on the ruinous 2002trekking and mountaineering season in Pakistan. 2002 was a disaster for Pakistan´s tourism industry, despite being the”International Year of the Mountains 2002″. According to TourismMinistry Public Relations officer, Ayaz Afridi, Pakistan´s number oftourists,trekkers and revenue plummeted more than 90% from 2001. Mountaineering numbers dropped 50% from 2001. Only about 45,000 foreigntourists visited Pakistan. There were 39 registered mountaineeringexpeditions, of which only 29 arrived in Pakistan (K2 – 8, Nanga Parbat- 2, Gasherbrum I- 2, Gasherbrum II – 2, Broad Peak – 6, others – 9,cancelled – 11), ), totaling 204 climbers which generated US $135,650.The worst fallout was in the trekking industry with only 24 treks,consisting of 97 trekkers, generating total royalty revenues of US$5,200. In contrast, 2001 was a record year for Pakistan´s tourism industry withanestimated 500,000 foreign tourists visiting the country. An all-timehigh of 70mountaineering expeditions attempted routes on Pakistan´s 6,000-8,611mpeaks. They comprised 453 climbers who generated royalty revenues of US$555,305. In 2002, only one climber summitted an 8,000 meter peak in Pakistan.Japanese alpinist, Fumiaki Goto, summitted Gasherbrum I – 8,068m – onAugust 5. During his descent Goto lost consciousness at Camp III andsurvived an extraordinary four days without food or water before hishelicopter evacuation to Skardu. In the wake of a beleaguered tourism industry, Pakistan´s FederalMinisterfor Tourism announced that Pakistan´s peak royalty feeswill remain at a 50% reduced rate for mountaineering expeditions in2003. These are listed below: 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 inrestrictedor closed zones. Generally, permits are issued before December 31st the year before theexpedition occurs. Peak royalty fees must first be deposited in aPakistanembassy or with the Ministry. However, applications for the 2003 seasonwillbe accepted up until March 1st, 2003. The Ministry prefers to getapplications by fax, registered post or hand-carried by a travel agent.Peak royalty fees are reduced and pro-rated if any expedition membersare Pakistani citizens. All foreign expeditions must provide Pakistan´s Ministry of Tourism withevidence or guarantee of a $6,000 bond deposited with Askari Aviationwww.askariaviation.com, an overseas Pakistan embassy, Pakistani touroperator, or traveler´s checks held in lieu with Pakistan´s Ministry ofTourism. Trekking fees remain $40 per person. Trekking and climbingpermits must be obtained through a licensed Pakistani tour operator, butdonot need advanced registration. Permits can be obtained in one day inIslamabad. Porter´s life insurance remains at Pakistan Rupees 100,000(about US $1,694). If you would like any further information with regard to mountaineeringor trekking in Pakistan contact the Public Relations Office of theMinistry of Tourism, Sports & Culture: Phone: 011 – 92 – 251 – 9203509 Fax: 011 – 92 – 251 – 9202347 Web: www.tourism.gov.pk/ministry_of_tourism.html
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