Who We Work With
Tourism receives a lot of justifiable criticism but we’re more than just a standard tourism company focusing on profit. As a social travel enterprise, we look to make sure our work benefits the local projects, people and communities that we work in long-term local partnership with as much as it benefits our guests and us as a business. Respect is at the core of what we believe in and we believe that everyone is equal – that our guests are equal to our Mongolian team who are equal to the Mongolians we work in partnership with.
‘Mongolia’s unique geographical location and the dependence of the nation’s rural population on animal husbandry because of the lack of alternative income streams and diversification strategies make it one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. As dzud events and harsh climatic conditions increase the hardships of rural life, an increasing number of people have moved to Ulaanbataar.’ [IOM UN Migration]
In recent decades climate and economic changes and challenges have resulted in an increase in urban migration as Mongolians move to Ulaanbaatar – Mongolia’ capital city – in search of employment, better living conditions, educational opportunities or to reunite with family members. However, not all rural Mongolians want to move to Ulaanbaatar – sometimes necessity forces them – and our partnerships with rural families helps to give them more financial security.
This is one reason we offer experiences throughout the entire country as it helps us to spread our support. As part of our continuing research, go out and meet people and then we get to know them – to learn about their lives and their needs – without being invasive. We then form long-term local community partnerships with them and work side by side with them – looking look at ways we can incorporate their skills and knowledge into our experiences encouraging their own sense of enterprise. As part of the partnerships we form, we look at how we can continue to break down the typical tourism preconceptions of Mongolia by introducing our guests to the wide spectrum of people that call Mongolia home – whether they are herders, musicians, teachers, philanthropists or Mongol Kazakh eagle hunters. We also look at how those we work with can help us to showcase the diversity of skills and knowledge of Mongols in the 21st Century.
Our partnerships turn into genuine personal friendships – forged over time, mainly with tea and sometimes with vodka. We never ask those we work in partnership with to change their daily schedule or to put on an ‘act’. We know the stresses and the strains they face. We know their strengths and weakness. We know their likes and dislikes. Our support goes further than just paying for accommodation. Our experiences are put together in a way that benefits and supports rather than disrupts lives and for each visit, we give what we call a sustainable payment for time and services. As part of our philosophy, if the circumstances of our partners change, we don’t stop working with them. Instead, we look at alternative ways in which we can work with and support them and this can include designing new tour routes or experiences as well as providing interest-free loans.
This is a brief introduction to just a few of our long-term local community partnerships.
Byamba – Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project. If you’ve planted a tree, she’ll remember exactly where it is planted. Gobi Oasis is her lifelong passion. Learn more here – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/tree-planting-project-in-mongolia/
The supremely talented Erdeneochir – khoomi singer and horse head fiddle player. His talent reminds you that Mongolia is not just about nomads.
The extended Galbadrakh family – yak herders and members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh. They’re young, focused and yet the traditions of Mongolia run deep. Learn more – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/ar-arvidjin-delgerekh-cooperative-mongolia/
Gaya – one of the hardest working people we know. She’s a widower and an inspiration as a self-taught owner of a guesthouse micro-business in Kharkhorin.
Bashakhan – one of Bayan Ulgii’s most experienced Kazakh eagle hunters. He’s our ‘go-to’ man for all things related to eagle hunting. He is equally as devoted to his eagle and grandchildren!
Dakhar – a Kazakh herder. His local knowledge is as vast as his home – the Tsambagarav Uul National Park. Ask him about the yearly Communist wolf hunt, the 1988 earthquake or where to find Ibex. He knows the answers! Learn more – http://www.jessbrooks.co.uk/blog/slow-lane-tourism
Batbold and Jargaa – at the centre of the Tariat rural community and owners of the Sultin Tulga Eco Ger Camp. We arrange our annual two-day rubbish collection with them and the community of Tariat. Learn more – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/annual-community-national-park-clean-up/
Batsaikhan – local protected area ranger of Baga Gazriin Chuluu. He can show you everything from Hunnu burial mounds to hidden medicinal springs. He is extremely proud of the area he protects. And he loves to join us for dinner at our campsite.
Introducting Ulziitogtokh Sodnomsenge – philanthropist and the inspiration behind the Nogoon Nuur Community Project in Ulaanbaatar. There are few safe community spaces within the ger districts but Nogoon Nuur is bucking this trend. Learn more – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/nogoon-nuur-community-project-ulaanbaatar/
Ma’am of Ulaan Tsutgalan – gentle, kind and watchful. You can tell he has spent most of his life out in the wilderness. He even has a Facebook account – follow it for updates into the way of life for a modern herder. Learn more – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/local-travel-experiences-in-mongolia/
Bujee of Gorkhi Terelj National Park. A great illustration into how herders are adapting – setting up micro businesses as a way of substituting their income. Learn more – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/modern-mongolian-nomads-meet-naraa-and-bujee/
Arildirpurev of Erdenedalai- facing 21st Century challenges but keeping the Buddhist traditions alive. Erdenedalai is the location of EL’s own ger homestay – a percentage of the income raised goes towards community projects within Erdenedalai town – decided by town members themselves.