Be A Changemaker - Our Sustainable Tourism Strategy

Updated May 2024. 

A Note From Jess

Prior to and since the coronavirus pandemic, the travel and tourism industry has often made headlines for the wrong reasons. Continuous growth brings immense challenges, leading to over-tourism both domestically and internationally. Additionally, we are all aware of the significant carbon emissions produced by flying, which contribute to climate change.

However, eliminating tourism is not a solution, as it undermines the livelihoods of millions worldwide who benefit financially, culturally, and environmentally from the industry. As Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), stated:

“Tourism is a people’s sector. One in ten people in the world is directly or indirectly employed by tourism.”

Moreover, tourism can contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What I would like to see come out of the pandemic is a recalibration in the travel and tourism sector although I believe the answer is not as simple as paying for carbon emissions or stopping flying altogether. I believe we have to think long-term.  

I remain hopeful for a greater focus on green technologies in commercial airlines. Following Responsible Travel’s suggestion, I support increasing the Air Passenger Duty (APD), especially for domestic flights and travel in classes beyond basic economy. Decarbonizing travel involves more than just addressing aviation and paying a carbon emissions tax. Offsetting emissions by funding tree planting in distant places is insufficient. We must also consider our behavior once we reach our destinations. If we choose to fly, we should ensure our journey has a positive impact.

We also need to become more conscious travelers, whether on a week-long holiday in Spain, a three-week trek through the Amazon, a cruise, or a ski trip. It’s essential to focus less on the type of experience and more on its impact on the local community, culture, and environment. For instance, a responsible sun-bed holiday could involve staying at a small hotel complex that recycles greywater, uses solar energy, employs local staff, and sources produce from its own garden.

I advocate for abandoning the bucket list mentality. Instead, travel and tourism should break down stereotypes, challenge preconceived notions, and dispel misconceptions about the countries and cultures we visit. Ideally, we would move away from highlights, must-see sights, and peak seasons. We should eliminate exploitative tourism and staged experiences, promoting greater visitor dispersal over extended periods to foster “greater inclusivity among underserved residents in both urban and non-urban areas,” as Greg Oates from SkiftX Brand Strategy Group suggests.

I firmly believe tourism can be a powerful force for good. The travel and tourism industry must take responsibility for its environmental impact while promoting sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. But tourism needs to change, and I invite you to be a changemaker and join us in supporting our sustainable tourism strategy. This is a long-term project, and here is a snapshot of our focus areas:

Water Use And Conservation

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Water Conservation

Due to Mongolia’s geographical location and climate, the country faces significant strain on its freshwater supply, a challenge that tourism further exacerbates. To address this, we are developing a comprehensive plan within our broader strategy to mitigate our impact on Mongolia’s freshwater resources. This plan will focus on the accommodations we select, our team’s water usage during trips, and the methods we use to provide drinking water to our guests.

Single Use Plastics

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Single Use Plastics

Plastic bottles and plastic bags are a blight on Mongolia’s landscapes, as they are worldwide. To combat this, we have been offering fabric tote bags made by the Mongolian Quilting Centre NGO as welcome gifts since 2011. Additionally, since 2018, we have partnered with Water-To-Go to provide reusable alternatives and sustainable solutions to plastic pollution. Our next focus is reducing our overall use of plastic. To achieve this, we have launched our Mini Plastic Free Tourism In Mongolia Challenge.

Women’s DevelopmentSustainable Tourism Strategy - Women's Development

As a social travel enterprise, we prioritise the bigger picture over maximising profit. Our long-term support for Mongolian women includes our ongoing informal free training and development programme. Our goal is to establish a formal tourism training initiative and support center for women in Mongolia, for which we are currently seeking funding. Learn more about this initiative here. Recently, we were honoured with the Gender Equality Champion award by Equality In Tourism International, recognising our commitment to gender equality.

Accessibility

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Accessibility

Everybody needs the freedom of choice to travel and to enjoy experiencing a different culture and country. We are currently working on our accessibility guide (link) and focusing on starting real conversations with potential guests that face accessibility issues. n 2024, we were proud to welcome our first guest who uses a wheelchair to Mongolia.

Local Education

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Local Education

As part of our ongoing commitment to local education, we organise an annual EL community cleanup in collaboration with the rangers and community of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park. In 2019, we observed a significant increase in the number of wet wipes, sanitary items, and hygiene products littering the area. While most tourism companies in Mongolia seem to overlook this issue, we are actively addressing it. Learn more about our efforts here.

Community Partnerships

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Community Partnerships

As a social travel enterprise, we are committed to responsible tourism that benefits the local people and communities of Mongolia as much as it benefits our guests and our business. We focus on creating local community partnerships that provide long-term support to local people, families, and projects, encouraging their own sense of enterprise. We also strive to maintain relationships with each family, even as their personal circumstances change. Using the framework of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we continue to strengthen these partnerships to ensure they have a positive impact. Learn more about our efforts here.

Project Support

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Project Support

The local projects we actively support, such as Nogoon Nuur in Ulaanbaatar’s ger districts, might seem like an effort to bolster our responsible travel credentials. However, these grassroots initiatives genuinely provide significant opportunities and benefits for local communities in Mongolia, making them well worth supporting. Using the framework of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to strengthening these partnerships and ensuring they have a positive impact. Learn more about our efforts here.

Impact Of Flying

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Impact Of Flying

We are acutely aware of the significant role flying plays in producing carbon emissions and contributing to the climate emergency, a situation that is only worsening. However, the solution isn’t as straightforward as merely paying for carbon offsets or ceasing flying altogether. Jess is currently participating in the Adventure Travel Trade Association Climate Action Leadership Studio, where we are exploring ways to limit our impact and improve our operations.

Being Child Safe

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Being Child Safe

Children are not tourist attractions, and we have a responsibility to ensure their safety.We are a member of Travelife and we have started the process to work step by step towards complying with international sustainability standards including in the protection of children. Learn more in our Child Protection Policy – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/our-child-protection-policy/.

Measuring Our Carbon Footprint

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Carbon Footprint

It is well documented that the tourism industry is a major contributor to global carbon emissions which are a major part of the climate emergency. As a tourism business – especially one working in Mongolia, a country where a majority of our guests have no option but to fly to – we have a moral responsibility to make sure the way we work is as sustainable as possible. Our focus has to be about reducing and managing our carbon footprint – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/climate-action-plan/

Animal Welfare

Sustainable Tourism Strategy - Animal Welfare

We focus on creating experiences that do not exploit or harm animals, whether they are wild or domesticated animals. Our Animal Welfare focus is about (our company, our team members and our guests) being aware of our impact on Mongolia’s wildlife and domestic livestock – including the riding and pack animals used during our treks. It is also making sure that our team and guests are observing wildlife responsibly on our wildlife trips.

Measuring Our Food WasteSustainable Tourism Strategy - Food Waste

On a global scale, an estimated 17 percent of total global food production – approximately 931 million tons of food — ends up being wasted in retail and by consumers. Looking at how we plan and prepare meals on our tour experiences, there are actions we can take to help prevent food waste. We’re a small company limited by our financial resources so we will start small and once we have identified the main sources of food waste in our business, we will consider the following potential actions to target them. With everything we do we start starting small allows us to tackle one or two actions successfully and leads to lasting change. Once new changes have been fully embraced, we will start the process again to see what can be targeted next – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/measuring-our-food-waste/


We Would Love To Hear From You!

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


If you’re in Ulaanbaatar why not pop in to our office. We love receiving guests.
The kettle is always on.

Just call Tuya to arrange +976 88011476.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Penned by Jess, the founder of Eternal Landscapes, our newsletter is all about quality, not clutter. We respect your privacy—no spam, no sharing of your details, and no irrelevant offers. Expect updates once or twice a month, just enough to keep you intrigued without overwhelming your inbox.

We respect your privacy.