Under Rule 9 of Uttarakhand River Rafting / Kayaking Rules 2014, the State Government or the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) may charge a fee (s) to adventure travel agents offering kayaking and river rafting packages within the State.
1. Types of commercial kayaking and rafting fees
The fee consists of mainly two components:
- Kayaking or rafting fee
- Environmental fee collected by the Uttarakhand Forest Department
2. Non-commercial kayaking and rafting fee
The State also charges a fee for non-commercial rafting activities but the rules do not specify the details of the fee.
3. Commercial fee depends on the river selected
Both kayaking and rafting runs in the Ganga River cost the most in the State. Chasing the white water rapids in the four other rivers- the Alaknanda, the Kali, the Tons, and the Yamuna- is the second most costly. The cost of paddling in the rapids of the remaining rivers is 75% less than that of the Ganga and 50% less than that of the four other rivers.
Generally, rafting is 72-76% more costly than kayaking. The environmental fee for rafting is 60 to 80% more than that for kayaking in actual terms. However, the share of environmental fee in the total kayaking fee for all the rivers except the Ganga is higher than that for rafting. The share of the environmental fee in the total fee ranges from 16.67% to 50%.
4. Why is kayaking cheaper than rafting?
One reason I can think of is the smaller carrying capacity of the kayaks than that of the rafts. For example, a 12-foot long self-bailer inflatable raft can accommodate 5-6 people, whereas a kayak is designed for 1-2 person. According to the rules, the raft length can vary from 12 to 20 feet.
Less number of clients would probably consume less and cause less damage to the area. The pressure on the local resources therefore would be less. The travel agent would obviously earn less in kayaking packages according to rule of thumb: more sale, more earnings after reaching the breakeven point.
5. Why are some river runs costlier than the others?
I think three things influence the fee: accessibility, difficulty, and popularity of the river. Another rule of thumb in business is: If demand is more and supply is limited, increase the cost. The unwritten rule of environment says that reduce access to the area and / or increase cost of an outdoor recreational activity if its high demand causes environmental and social pressure.
6. Who can amend the fee?
The Chief Executive Officer of the board with the government consent may revise the fee mentioned in the Annexure C of the rules.