Trekking Wrongs, Porters Rights

Member event – 14 March

Join us at the Finborough Arms on Tuesday 14th March 2017, at 18:30 at our Members meeting and social event to discuss porter rights.

In our major campaign for porters’ rights in mountainous regions we highlighted the working conditions for Nepalese Sherpas supporting trekking tours on Everest. Whilst much progress has been made there is still more to be done.

The issues are picked up in the film Sherpa: Trouble on Everest which was released in 2015. The film is a documentary focusing on the events of 18 April 2014, when a huge avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall on Everest killed 16 Sherpas and mountain workers. The tragedy was followed by a labour dispute which effectively closed the mountain for climbing a week later. The Nepalese government promised a miserly 40,000 rupees (£245) by way of ‘compensation’ (Guardian, 26/4/14). This sum would barely cover the cost of a decent funeral.

A number of problems lie behind this tragedy. Despite the widespread dissemination of a code of practice, there is still a chronic need for regulation in the trekking industry. This needs to go beyond a tick box list of the qualities, skills and experience of the guides. Government agencies, mountaineering associations, and some tour companies are showing signs that they are taking these matters seriously. For real change, however, Tourism Concern advocates that tourists themselves demand higher standards and vote with their feet if they find that companies they are using are not implementing improved porter conditions.

Join us on 14th March 2017 to get a better understanding of the issues, discuss how we can improve conditions and enjoy a drink with Tourism Concern Members.

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