Nepal Slashes Himalayan Prices!

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Every retailer knows that if you're getting bad press, you can always clear the air with a blowout, everything-must-go discount sale! This might work with electronics, automobiles, and at the Gap. But will it work when the product you sell is access to the highest peaks in the world?

Nepal has seen no shortage of bad press stemming from their devil's bargain with China, so perhaps that's why they've chosen to slash prices on permit fees to Everest and other high peaks within their borders.

"The government has approved the decision to cut the royalty fee for climbing Everest by 75 per cent during winter and summer seasons and 50 per cent during the autumn season," tourism official Krishna Prasad Gyawali told AFP.

Sounds great, Krishna, but is there a catch? (Hint: There's always a catch). Turns out there's no discount off of the $70,000 Everest fee if you climb during the busy spring season, when nearly everyone climbs. If you opt to save a little coin, you'll be attempting Everest in a season when the mountain is much more likely to kill you. D'oh!

The Nepalese have upped the group size for permits from 12 to 15, so climbing teams cans till shave a little off of high-season prices on Everest. They've similarly cut prices on all 326 peaks over 5,500 meters, and to encourage climbers to try less famous peaks, mountaineering in the west and midwest of the country will be free for the next five years. Did you hear that, penniless climbers? Free! 

"To encourage mountaineering in unexplored and backward areas, the government also decided to allow mountaineering free of charge in the mid-west and far-west regions for the next five years," said Gyawali. 

"Most of the time, people only climb the famous peaks -- Everest, Langtang and the Annapurnas -- while many other mountains with great potential are ignored. We want to end this trend," the official said.

That's a smart business move, Nepal. Diversify your inventory, slash prices, and offer new products to your core audience. As long as you don't shoot anyone, maybe you'll be back on top of the mountain market yet.

— Ted Alvarez

Nepal slashes cost of climbing Everest (Agence French Presse)