We promote low-season travel in Mongolia and it is something we have always done since we founded the business.
As a social travel venture and as a Mongolian business working in tourism in Mongolia, we look at the bigger picture rather than just focusing on achieving maximum profit. It’s one reason we promote low-season travel in Mongolia. Along with mining and agriculture, tourism is one of the main sources of income for the country but with a short peak tourist many Mongolians involved in tourism struggle to make ends meet outside of peak season. Low season in Mongolia is brutally long – from the end of October almost up until the beginning of May. As part of our long-term support, we look at ways in which we can help those we work with and support – including our immediate team as well as the families and communities we work in long-term local community partnership with – overcome the financial challenge of seasonality.
The low-season experiences we offer help contribute to a year-round economy and help the income of those we work with be more evenly distributed. Both are essential in a country where the current rate of inflation is 14% (Sept 2022) and in which the prices of food and consumer goods – both primarily imported – have risen significantly since the pandemic.
Winter Camel Trek
In addition, we focus solely on Mongolia, and over the past almost two decades we have seen the impact of the climate emergency on this vast country. Annual precipitation has decreased (the (previously reliable) seasonal rainfall pattern has become erratic) but localised severe weather events have increased. There’s also an increase in desertification and a loss of biodiversity. This is combined with Mongolia’s annual mean air temperature increasing by 2.24°C from 1940 to 2015 – triple the global average. Herding households – including herding families that we work in long-term partnership with – are vulnerable to the impact of this climate change. We have various ways in which we support the herding families we work in partnership with but by focusing on low-season travel, we help to provide them with a secure secondary income during what is a very challenging time of year with which they can use to purchase fodder or veterinary medicine for their livestock to get them through the brutal winter.
‘The impact of climate change has exacerbated a periodic weather phenomenon known in Mongolia as the dzud, which creates summers that are unusually dry, followed by spells during the winter that are unusually cold. The dry summers make it harder to grow and harvest grass, while the harsher winters require an even bigger supply of fodder.’ National Geographic
Explore Khovsgol Nuur By Traditional Horse Sleigh
We design our low-season experiences to provide what we consider a celebration of Mongolian culture and tradition. We base our low-season experiences around what Mongolians do in the low season – either now or as part of their cultural history – or their traditions and festivals.
Although there are domestic flights in the low-season, the weather often causes delays and cancellations. So we slow down the pace of the trips and encourage you to travel against the grain by not following a tick-list of must-see places but instead to embrace a slower-paced more immersive experience. Fewer other international travellers allows you a more intimate experience and exclusive access to the lives and culture of the places you visit. Low season in Mongolia offers what we consider more ‘real-life‘ experiences. One example is that a majority of tourism accommodation shuts down for the low season so our winter experiences typically include homestays – hosted by the families we work in partnership with – which might require a change of attitude or perception on your behalf but leads to a very genuine and shared experience. Travelling across the country slows you down and gives you time to experience the ‘places in-between.’ The landscapes take on an extraordinary beauty in the winter, and being part of them is the best way to experience them.
The Tsaatan Reindeer Herders
Travelling off-peak in Mongolia may seem like a brave prospect but come in the low season and you’ll be doing a good thing. Not only will you be rewarded with cheaper international airfares, but you’ll be helping to sustain the local economy and as the sun dips ever lower, the immense Mongolian landscapes seem to stretch further than ever. So that’s why we not only offer low-season experiences but offer each guest who books a 15% discount as a thank you for supporting us in our philosophy. And for those of you that do travel in the low season, we’ll take care of you – providing our handmade goatskin blankets, Mongolian felt boots, and Mongolian winter deel … as well as a detailed packing list.
Mongolia’s Eagle Hunters
For further ideas and inspiration, about our low-season experiences in Mongolia, look at the Winter Tours Mongolia page on our website. Alternatively, get in touch for further details. We look forward to welcoming you. Just bring thermals!
Jess @ Eternal Landscapes