After a blizzard killed 41 people making it the deadliest trekking disaster in the country’s history, Nepalese officials are introducing several new rules to better protect tourists, including mandatory GPS tracking devices.
Tourism Department official Tulasi Gautam said tourists will be required to rent a satellite navigation unit for the duration of the trek, making it easier to track them in case of emergency, and will also be required to use a trained local guide.
Some experts and critics are labeling the introductory of GPS systems a “knee-jerk reaction” that does not address the actual issue. Most of the victims didn’t die because they were lost, but because the climbers and guides went out into the storm in the first place. Simon Lowe, managing director for Jagged Globe, a mountaineering company based in the UK, said, “Technology alone is not a solution to the problem. There needs to be better training and education in place for both the trekkers, local guides and porters on the mountains so that decision making is improved.”
The Nepalese government plans to introduce the safely measures before the next season begins in spring.