Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"Insurers give Nepal ultimatum to end tourist rescue fraud"

Multiple tourists are crammed into a single chopper, but each insurance company gets billed for the flight. The trekking operators, lodge owners, helicopter companies, and even hospitals pocket the extra cash.

The fraud became so acute that Nepal's government, which relies heavily on tourism, launched a probe in June in a bid to keep insurers from pulling out altogether.


The helicopter scam has become such a money-maker that some budget tour operators are luring customers by selling treks at below cost price -- knowing they can make enough profit on kickbacks when the tourists are evacuated.

In some cases, trekkers themselves are in on the scam, opting for a quick ride home billed to their insurance, while others are being scared into rescues for minor illnesses.
Related: The Horn on Netflix is terrific.