Ethical Policy : Tourism The Right Way
Read our full Ethical Policy here: Ethical_Policy_2013.pdf
1. The people
The area of Mongolia we operate in currently has no tourism, so we believe it is a good opportunity to make sure any tourism development benefits the local community, with as little negative impact on the their traditional culture as possible. John is a member of Tourism Concern , the charity that campaigns for ethical tourism. Using their guidelines and working with the local people, we hope to do things the right way.
We currently use guides and wranglers from the local area (rather than from Ulaanbaatar), so they know the best routes to follow, the area's history, and the local people. A difficulty with the Mongolian culture is that people are extremely hospitable to passing strangers, but don't expect anything in return (and can be quite offended at the idea of payment). Obviously we would all like to see these people benefit from our presence.
We are establishing a network of nomadic families that we can stop and visit along the way, enjoying their great hospitality and stocking up on provisions if they have a surplus, while offering fair recompense in return in a more formalised way. Discussions with the local people suggest that this approach might work. It will be a case of working closely with the nomadic herders so we get their input. In future we hope to give more back to the local community, and to contribute to improving the national park we ride in (beginning with putting up a sign so everyone knows it's actually a national park...).
2. The Environment
We will also be trying to minimise our environmental impacts. Unfortunately our single biggest environmental impact is the flight to Mongolia, because of the contribution to global warming. It’s difficult to avoid unless you’ve got the time to travel by train.
Carbon off-setting may provide some of the answer. In its simplest form, trees are planted which take up the carbon emitted during your flight, as they grow. There are several organisations that will plant trees or do other good deeds on your behalf, such as The CarbonNeutral Company . These sites allow you to calculate your carbon emissions, and find out what it will cost to be ‘carbon neutral’.
The trouble is that by the time your trees are mature in 50 or 100 years time and have off-set the carbon emitted now, it may well be too late. We are looking into other options, and would welcome suggestions. Once we decide on the best option we will either organise it on your behalf, or if you prefer we can leave it up to you to do the right thing.
So these are our good intentions! We hope you will offer your own views on doing things the 'right' way once you've seen the potential.