Empowering Mongolian Women in Tourism: Our Female Trip Assistants

Allow us to introduce you to Zumbee, an integral member of both the Eternal Landscapes family and our team of trip assistants. Zumbee is a great example of the Mongolian women driving our tourism initiative forward.

Eternal Landscapes trip assistant Zumbee in our webpage focusing on empowering Mongolian women in tourism

Originally hailing from a herding family in Dungobi Aimag in Mongolia’s Middle Gobi region, she later relocated to Ulaanbaatar (UB), Mongolia’s capital city, to pursue her university education. Zumbee embarked on her journey with us at the outset of her career aspirations as a General Practitioner (GP). Her decision to work in tourism was not solely driven by the need for financial support for her studies but also by her desire to broaden her horizons, enhance her life skills, and improve her prospects through her involvement in tourism.

Her motivation went beyond personal growth and learning English; she sought to engage with different nationalities and cultures. Zumbee joined our fledgling free low-season training program, and as the program evolved, so did her own development, culminating in her graduation.

Zumbee confronted numerous obstacles and challenges along the way. She adeptly juggled the demands of full-time studying while taking care of her younger siblings. During her final year of studies, she also embraced motherhood, giving birth to a beautiful daughter. In addition to these personal challenges, Zumbee encountered criticism during her extended time as a trip assistant, including comments insinuating that she was too young for the tourism industry or that her involvement was inconsequential since she did not plan to pursue a long-term career in tourism. However, she met these challenges and criticisms head-on, showcasing her resilience and determination.

Since her graduation, she has embarked on a new chapter in her life, relocating to Sydney, Australia, to pursue her dreams and continue her journey of personal and professional growth.

Creating Opportunities In Tourism For Mongolian Women

As Turuu and I set out on our journey to establish Eternal Landscapes – a small and fledgling company –  we faced considerable challenges in securing accommodation contracts and reliable guides. Additionally, in 2010, the tourism landscape was predominantly male, with male drivers commonly paired with male translators and guides.

To overcome these hurdles, we embarked on a path of innovation by forging long-term partnerships with local communities. Recognising that our drivers would all be male, we implemented a policy to employ Mongolian women who sought opportunities to work as tourism guides. These initiatives have not only played a pivotal role in shaping the experiences we provide but have also become fundamental cornerstones of our ongoing business operations.

We also observed a recurring pattern within the industry—a ‘circuit’ of seasoned guides rotating between various companies or a preference for Western leaders over local Mongolians. This observation raised a pivotal question in our minds: How could aspiring individuals, native to their own country and eager to pursue careers in tourism, break into the field when they lacked formal qualifications and experience? It was this very question that ignited our motivation to create an informal, low-season training program for Mongolian women.

Some of the Eternal Landscapes female trip assistants in our webpage focusing on how we're empowering Mongolian women in tourism.

Think back to when you were just starting on your career path. You attended interviews, only to encounter the all-too-familiar response: ‘We’re interested, but you need more experience.’ Remember the frustration that came with it? How were you expected to gain valuable experience if nobody was willing to extend a helping hand and provide that crucial opportunity?

We understood this situation all too well, and that’s why we decided to be the ones to be the catalyst for change. We decided to be the ones who offered that chance, determined to give local Mongolian women to work in tourism and the opportunity to aim to be the best they can be within the industry.

While it’s true that not all our trip assistants necessarily envision a long-term career in tourism, what truly matters are their personal motivations for entering this field. Whether it’s a desire to gain confidence, acquire new skills, or achieve economic empowerment, these individual reasons are what drives them to be part of the Eternal Landscapes team.

Our remarkable team of trip assistants comprises dynamic women who are actively seeking opportunities for training and personal development. The younger members represent the future of Mongolia, and the older members being mums and/or teachers, are not only inspiring but also shaping the next generation of Mongolian leaders through their own journeys.

Our Sustainable Development Goals Framework

The Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 interconnected objectives, provide a global roadmap for constructing a more sustainable and equitable future. These goals address a multitude of challenges, spanning from poverty and inequality to climate change and environmental conservation, all the way to promoting peace and justice. To truly make a difference and leave no one behind, it is essential that we collectively strive to achieve all these goals by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals

Within our work working with Mongolian women in tourism we focus on a couple of SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Measuring Our Impact - Gender Equality - Sustainable Development Goal 5

Tourism can empower women, particularly through the provision of direct jobs and income-generation – https://tourism4sdgs.org/sdg-5-gender-equality/

Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities – Reduce inequality within and among countries

Sustainable Development Goal 10

Tourism can be a powerful tool for community development and reducing inequalities if it engages local populations and all key stakeholders in its development – https://tourism4sdgs.org/sdg-10-reduced-inequalities/

Empowering Mongolian Women Through Tourism

Zumbee encapsulates the very essence of Eternal Landscapes’ philosophy. Our collective purpose extends beyond the pursuit of profit or vying for the top spot on TripAdvisor. We are a business with a social conscience, driven by a set of ethics and values. Our pride lies in our commitment to making a positive impact in Mongolia, supporting a diverse spectrum of Mongolian society, and challenging the conventional stereotypes and clichés associated with tourism in Mongolia.

One of the ways we fulfill this commitment is through our free low-season training and development program for Mongolian women, which also opens doors to employment opportunities through the Mongolian trips and experiences we offer to our international guests. Despite being a small company, we aspire for Eternal Landscapes to serve as a catalyst for positive change. While our efforts align with a couple of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, our mission is far more profound. As a fortunate business owner, I understand the importance of using my skills and influence as a woman to uplift the prospects and well-being of other women. In our team, we perceive our role as extending beyond offering mere opportunities; it serves as a beacon of hope, assistance, and support.

We firmly believe that empowering women and showcasing their independent roles serves as a powerful source of inspiration for young girls in rural Mongolian communities. It illustrates to them that they too can aspire to achieve greatness. On a more practical level, having a female trip assistant often enhances the comfort of our female travellers. We understand that women may have unique needs, which might not be immediately evident to someone from a different cultural background.

Some of the Eternal Landscapes female trip assistants in our webpage focusing on how we're empowering Mongolian women in tourism.

Looking ahead, we are committed to continuing our investment in the hope that our trip assistants view Eternal Landscapes as a platform to nurture their personal ambitions, embark on adventures, and unlock their full potential. This not only benefits the women themselves but also strengthens our identity as a company and contributes positively to the broader community.

Building on the positive impacts observed among our female team members, we are excited to announce our plans to formalise our training scheme through Chandmana Erdene. This pioneering project is our own creation—a low-impact, community-based centre dedicated to offering an aspirational tourism training program for Mongolian women. Our aim is to create a tangible and enduring difference in their lives, empowering them for a brighter future.

Chandmana Erdene

We Would Love To Hear From You!

WhatsApp: +44 (0) 7810280403     Mail: jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk

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