Alternatives to Black Friday
Beyond Black Friday

This Friday is Black Friday – synonymous with consumerism and excess but there is an alternative option – to help make a statement against what Black Friday has come to represent. Personally, I’ll be sticking my finger up at the event and here are a few ideas on how to mark the day by doing something different using my beloved Mongolia…

Our Focus During Low Season In Mongolia

As a company, we call ourselves ‘manaikhan’ which translates from Mongolian loosely into ‘ours’ or ‘our people.’ Essentially, we’re a family – with all the same stresses, strains and disagreements that all families experience. But, then, also, the support, the unity and the strength that a family can bring as well. For those that know Mongolia, you’ll know that it…

We need to have a rubbish revolution in tourism

Let’s talk about rubbish. As in discarded rubbish – especially discarded rubbish left in our areas of nature. Specifically wet wipes, hygiene products and sanitary items. This is specifically about Mongolia but also applies to wilderness areas in other countries. We have just completed our annual two-day rubbish clean-up of a national park here in Mongolia. And yes, there were…

To tag or not to tag, that is the question

I recently read an article on the BBC News website that ‘Icelanders tire of disrespectful Instagram influencers.’ Part of the article included a comment by Pall Jokull Petursson, who makes a living out of showing photographers Iceland’s nature: ‘The good instagrammers try to show different ways of enjoying nature. We don’t tag places that are off the beaten path that…

Making A Positive Difference Through Tourism In Mongolia

Any ideas? Any ideas what the image represents? This is how our group spent a day recently in Ulaanbaatar – the capital city of Mongolia – at a felting project run by the Buddhist NGO Asral. The group learnt how to clean the wool, process the wool, colour the wool & then how to create by hand these intricate felt…

Girl Power – Why We Employ Only Female Trip Assistants

Girl Power – a phrase from the 1990s and early 2000s and, as I’m always slightly off-trend, one I continue to use. I use it in relation to my trip assistants – all of whom are Mongolian women. Do I provide opportunities to Mongolian women to tick boxes the equal opportunities box? No. It goes deeper than that. I am…

Local children getting a lift on a horse in Mongolia
Local Travel On A More Personal Level

There are trends and cycles in tourism just as with other areas of influence. One of the current shifts is towards a more authentic experience. It’s there in these three tag lines – ‘travel like a local’, ‘don’t just visit, live it’, and ‘be where you belong’. All from three quite major tour or accommodation suppliers. The focus is on…

Eternal Landscapes Dartmoor – How An Idea Was Born

The management plan for Dartmoor National Park is the single most important plan for the future of the park. It is the strategic plan which will guide decisions affecting Dartmoor’s future over the next five years. Look at it and you will see that listed are key drivers and challengers under three sections – Sustain, Enjoy and Prosper. Look more…

Supporting Local – Why is it important to support local businesses?

Let’s start this post with an experience I recently had. I am from the rural county of Devon in the UK – based in a small town on the on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. I return there when I’m not in Mongolia. The small town was hosting its annual local Food and Music Festival. It’s a celebration of…

Combatting overtourism in Mongolia

Overtourism is a term that hit the headlines in the summer of 2017 – look for articles on the internet by media and the travel industry on the consequences of tourism on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, the effect of Airbnb on communities in Barcelona, the impact of cruise ship tourism to Venice and Dubrovnik. Even Iceland has expressed concerns.