Mountaineering experts suggest ‘safety council’
Experts suggested a ‘safety council’ for coordinated efforts to encourage mountain activities, foster safety and promote quality standards in the mountaineering tourism.
According to world expert on International Tourism advisor David Bamford enhanced safety condition in Nepal’s mountain tourism is a must. “Pursuing international best practices in skill development, mountain condition knowledge and communication system, as well as rescue treatment to promote sustainable mountain tourism will help increase safety and promote quality of mountaineering tourism,” he said, addressing a day-long seminar on Mountain Tourism Safety organised by Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) – in support with New Zealand High Commission, SAMARTH and UKAID – here today.
“Reviving tourism is going to be an indispensable factor in the systemic and widespread recovery process, in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes,” NMA president Ang Tshering Sherpa said, adding that the mountain tourism community is taking safety very seriously and also taking measures to review areas of safety concern and improve them.
Medical director of Himalayan Rescue Association Dr Buddha Basnyat urged to give greater attention to the millions of pilgrims Nepal get from India and could benefit from safety precautions of adjusting to high altitudes.
Likewise, a high-altitude rescue pilot Col Madan KC stressed on need of more standby rescue helicopters round the clock. The award-winning social innovator Mahabir Pun, on the occasion, shared his ideas for implementing and financing a smart ‘electronic tracking system’ – a GPS system to track whereabouts of fellow trekkers, climbers and guides – that would significantly speed up rescue operations.
Similarly, director general of Department of Tourism Tulsi Prasad Gautam suggested mountaineering experts to share the risks with government and create a joint crisis management cell ready around the clock.
On the occasion, tourism minister Kripa Sur Sherpa said that the mountain tourism should seize the opportunity to turn the negative perception towards travelling in Nepal into a renewed positive image of the majestic Himalayan nation.
Experts, on the occasion, shared their experiances and recommendations that is expected to improve safety conditions in mountain tourism.
Nepal’s tourism industry is also under threat as the result of recent earthquake and increased temperatures are causing climbing and trekking routes to change, according to the NMA. “There is a big increase in the number of frequency and magnitude of avalanches, serac collapses and rock falls on the mountains.”
The result was clear in the tragedy that unfolded on Mt Everest avalanches which killed 16 Nepali mountaineers on April, 18, 2014. An unprecedented natural catastrophe of heavy snowfall and avalanches that occurred on October 13, 2014 in Mt Annapurna, Mt Dhaulagiri and Dolpa killed 41 and rescued 532 trekkers and climbers of various nationalities. The April 25 earthquake also triggered massive avalanche at Mt Everest Base Camp killing 18 and injuring 71 climbers.