Tourism is a small but growing part of Mongolia's economy (around 10%), however the benefits are not
spread equally across the country. We specifically started taking our guests to the least-visited regions partly
in order to benefit their local economies. It does help that these tend to be the most interesting and remote
areas, where we can experience the real Mongolia! We do not run trips to the areas where tourism is already
well-established such as Lake Khovsgol and the main Gobi tourist sites.
Our responsibility to the environment begins in our New Zealand-based office, which is almost entirely
paperless. In this age of ipads and smart phones, we feel there is no need to produce printed brochures or
other materials. All necessary pre-trip documentation is sent to our guests by email. Mongolia has an incredible variety of wildlife but it is increasingly under threat. By bringing our guests to remote areas to view the wildlife we hope to demonstrate to local people that there is value in conservation.
Employing local people creates a financial incentive for conserving wildlife. We recognise that the challenge
is to extend this incentive beyond those we employ directly.
The nomadic culture has a bewildering range of dos and don'ts and codes of behaviour. This includes such
things as never pausing on the threshold of a ger, never passing a knife point-first, and always receiving and
passing items with your right hand while supporting your elbow with your left hand. Our guests are advised on appropriate behaviour to avoid causing offence (or simply to avoid being laughed at). When appropriate, we offer suitable gifts to families we are visiting or staying with. We make sure our guests know it is not appropriate to hand out sweets and other gifts to children as we pass by. We wish to avoid creating an association between foreigners and handouts, as has happened elsewhere in the world.