Mongolia needs our help. With one of the world’s most fragile environments and among the last of the great horse-based nomadic cultures, Mongolia’s uniqueness has endured through the centuries largely because of the country’s remoteness and isolation. Due to rapid development and ongoing exploitation of her natural and cultural resources, Mongolia’s ecology, her wildlife, and the traditional nomadic way of life are continually being impacted in negative ways.
In order to reduce the impact, we at Mongolian Ways have created and adhere to our own Code of Responsible Travel. It includes the following principles:
In all our endeavors, we emphasize the uniqueness of Mongolia as a nation which preserves traditions thousands of years old, yet has entered the 21st century with enthusiasm and faces development challenges that must be met responsibly. Awareness building, for our staff, the communities we travel through, and for our guests, is an integral part of all our activities. We put great effort into enabling our guests to gain a deeper understanding of Mongolia, its unique culture, environmental challenges, and social affairs. We continuously work with local communities in order to educate them about environmental, social, and development issues related to tourism. Our Code of Responsible Travel includes a set of Responsible Travel Guidelines which we provide a briefing to all our guests on at the start of each trip.
We are committed to ensuring that our tours are ecologically and environmentally friendly, and that they contribute to the sustainability of Mongolian culture and the traditional way of life. We achieve this by identifying potentially damaging aspects of tourism and finding sustainable solutions in consultation with local communities. All our staff is trained in Leave No Trace ethics and our trips adhere to the principles of low impact travel and eco-tourism. We will not promote any activities which may have a negative impact on the traditional way of life, culture, or beliefs of Mongolian people, or on the livelihoods of rural communities. We strive to ensure that all our travelers understand and respect local customs and traditions.
As part of our commitment to the environment and Mongolia’s ecosystems, Mongolia Ways’ staff is highly involved in different educational projects led by the World Wildlife Fund, The World Bank and local National Park authorities. Through these projects Mongolian Ways staff is educating local people about how to benefit from the tourism industry while understanding how to prioritize and integrate the conservation of environmental and cultural assets into their local development plans. Mongolian Ways staff has provided workshops throughout Mongolia to the staff of many organizations including different National Park administrations, the World Wildlife Fund, the Mongolian Guides Association, and to schools, local communities, and other groups. Mongolian Ways is a proud member of The International Ecotourism Society, and supports local conservation organizations with their efforts to protect wildlife and educate people about Mongolia’s endangered species.
As a company whose future depends on Mongolia, its beautiful nature, environment and vibrant local communities, we will make efforts to ensure that our business contributes to the development of these assets. We will ensure that our trips are designed to involve local communities, and that we purchase products and services for our guests from local people as much as possible, including accommodation, food, renting horses and camels, and hiring local guides.
While we seek ways to develop local communities and improve the living conditions of rural people we are always conscious of the impact this might have on the traditional way of life of nomads. We support local development that leaves communities better off but as authentic and unique as we found them, by contributing to the adoption of appropriate modern practices and technologies that do not clash with old customs and traditions. Mongolian Ways has invested substantially in a project we call Developing Western Mongolia Through Responsible Tourism, aimed at developing the western region of Mongolia by building appropriate tourism infrastructure and training local communities in organizing services and activities so that they can earn incomes from visitors to this magnificent region. Since 2004, Mongolian Ways’ staff have also played a major role in establishing community based tourism in rural Mongolia with our home stay and monastery stay programs and our support to rural projects designed to bring the benefits of tourism to local people.
Our Code of Responsible Travel is integrated into our annual staff training, so each and every one of our staff members will understand their role in keeping Mongolia and its cultural and natural resources intact for the next generations. Upon joining Mongolian Ways every one of our team members goes through basic skills training, a Leave No Trace and a Red Cross certified First Aid course, and then receives continued training every year given by academics, scientists, and the staff of different conservation organizations, as well as guest trainers in special topics. We are proud of the fact that all our guides are volunteers with the World Wildlife Fund and are active participants in different projects the organization is undertaking in Mongolia.