PTDC will discuss the idea of setting up an Center of Excellence for Mountain Tourism and Adventure Training at Baltistan University. An MOU should be signed between PTDC and Baltistan University to establish this Centre of Excellence. Different training courses will be regularly conducted thorough this center by invite national and international experts and trainers on time to time bases to build the capacity of High Altitude porters, mountain guides, tour operators and other support staff. Moreover, awareness sessions will also be arranged for work place safety and protocol.
A National Committee including members of PTDC should be formed in coordination with the Gilgit Baltistan Government to review existing mountaineering and trekking rules and regulation.
Operational gaps will also be identified and awareness and training workshops to enhance safety for mountaineering activities will be designed accordingly.
It was also proposed by wasi shah that Gilgit Baltistan Government may initiate the process to increase the royalty fee permits issued for K-2. Royalty fees may be increased from $1700 USD to $5000 USD per person. The royalty fee for Mount Everest was also presented as an example which is $11,000 USD per person. A portion of this royalty fee should be spend exclusively on the training and capacity building activities of porters and mountain guides.
It was also proposed to introduce four seasons of Mountaineering by Rehmat Ullah to enhance to scope of revenue generation and provide employment to the porters in off season as well.
To increase the number of Mountaineering expeditions on other mountains was also suggested to reduce pressure on K2.
GB government must ensure that tour operators’ companies should provide an insurance coverage of at least 3 million to High Altitude Porters, before issuing them permits.
Legal and financial penalties must be included in law for violation of existing rules and procedures of mountaineering expeditions.
It was also agreed that a follow up meeting with adventure tour operators, Alpine Club and GB Tourism Department will be help soon to finalize the proposal for improving the overall working environment of mountaineering and trekking in Pakistan.
It was also agreed that efforts will be made to ensure the environment protection of mountain areas by adopting appropriate procedures and action plan.
Mr. Wasi Shah, ensured the participation that he will try his best to take all the concerned stakeholders to ensure that mountaineering and trekking in Pakistan is done as per the recognized international safety standards and procedures. He also ensured that PTDC will make all efforts to improve the safety of porters by introducing training program and developing awareness sessions.
Qarar Haidari presented information on Nepali companies operating in Pakistan through Pakistan Tour Operators, citing the Laila Peak Expedition and their violation of rules in providing proper equipment to the said porter. He suggested legal actions against responsible companies. He informed that Nepali companies charge very high price of services and only 10 to 15 % of this income come to Pakistan.
Minister of State for Tourism/Chairman PTDC, Wasi Shah, presided over a meeting held at the PTDC Head Office today, addressing proposals for the training and welfare of porters in the mountaineering community.
The meeting was attended by Managing Director of PTDC, Aftab ur Rahman Rana, Manager (P&P)-PTDC, Sadia Nauman, President of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, Abu Zafar, Deputy Director of the Gilgit Baltistan Tourism Department, Sajid Husssain, accomplished Mountaineer and Alpine Club Member of the Investigation Committee, Rehmatullah, and distinguished Adventure/Tour Operator Qarar Haidri. Minister of State for Tourism, Wasi Shah, expressed his heartfelt condolences for the untimely passing of Mr. Muhammad Hassan, a porter who lost his life in a tragic incident while climbing the world’s second largest mountain K2. In response to this tragedy, he has directed the authorities for the establishment of a Training Centre/Institute aimed at enhancing the capabilities of both climbers and porters. During the meeting, Managing Director, PTDC, Aftab ur Rehman Rana, provided a comprehensive brief about the incident, while President of the Alpine Club, Abu Zafar, elucidated the various facets of mountaineering. A member of the Investigation Committee also shed light on the rescue efforts undertaken during the course of the incident. State Minister for Toursim, Wasi Shah also emphasized the need to bridge gaps in existing rules and regulations pertaining to safety measures and, crucially, to work towards providing insurance coverage for Porters and Climbers to the tune of Rs. 3 million in case of unfortunate fatalities. State Minister, Wasi shah also expressed his concerns about the absence of a formal institution dedicated to the training of porters. These unsung heroes, who navigate treacherous paths and conditions, deserve access to proper training to enhance their skills, ensure their safety, and improve the quality of services they provide. He also directed to introduce formal documentation regarding penalties and certifications for tour operators, alongside arrangements for training and short courses for guides and porters. He said that such effort signifies the commitment of the Ministry of Tourism and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation towards the safety, training, and welfare of those who play an essential role in Pakistan’s mountaineering endeavours.
The meeting ended with vote of thanks.