Nepal plans free SIM cards to help hikers in distress
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal plans to distribute free SIM cards to trekkers visiting remote areas alone, officials said on Thursday, after several foreign hikers were attacked or went missing in recent years.
Home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest, Nepal hosts thousands of foreign climbers and trekkers every year. But the killing or disappearance of solo trekkers have raised concerns about the safety of tourists.
"When a trekker is lost, it becomes easy to find out the location by tracking the SIM card," said Sharad Pradhan, a senior Nepal Tourism Board official, told Reuters.
"Trekkers in distress can also call us on some specified numbers for help or rescue."
Mountain climbers and group trekkers are accompanied by local helpers. But thousands who trek alone to remote Himalayan foothills or national parks make emergency rescue or help difficult when they are in distress, authorities said.
Free SIM cards will benefit about 30,000 independent trekkers who go to the remote areas every year. The cards will be handed over to them with their permits.
Nearly 14 percent of 800,000 tourists to Nepal last year came for hiking or climbing. Tourism contributes four percent to the gross domestic product and employs half a million people in the desperately poor country.
Assaults on or disappearances of individual travellers in remote areas have tarnished Nepal's image in Western tourism markets.
The peak climbing and hiking season in Nepal begins in March and continues until May or early June, when the annual monsoon rains make walking along the Himalayas risky.
(Editing by Ron Popeski)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- UPDATE 3-U.S. fines Berkshire over stock deal, Buffett admits mistake
- UPDATE 2-UK launches hunt for man with British accent on beheading video
- U.S. strikes have slowed Iraq militants but not weakened them - Pentagon
- Islamic State opens new anti-U.S. front with beheading video
- McCain calls for dramatic increase in US airstrikes against Islamic State
Iron Lady of Manipur
Human rights activist Irom Sharmila who has been on hunger strike for the last 14 years in protest against alleged army atrocities on Wednesday walked free from a prison hospital where doctors had force fed her to keep her alive. Full Article
IFC launches $2.5 billion rupee-denominated bonds for infra projects in India. Full Article
Govt begins revamp of Food Corporation of India to cut waste, tame prices. Full Article
Despite lip service, Silicon Valley venture capital still a man’s world Full Article