Wild Journeys, Responsible Travel: An Earth Day Message
The environmental movement Earth Day began in 1970 to bring much-needed attention to the global challenges that need to be addressed, such as the climate crisis. And on this anniversary, many people feel inspired to take action—either on climate change, or supporting renewable energy, or looking to make more sustainable choices in the goods they buy. Yet not everyone realizes that these choices can extend into how you vacation.
Responsible Travel Benefits Us All
Travel helps connect us with the incredible natural beauty of our planet, its animals, and immerses us in humanity’s vibrant cultures. The ways we travel and where we stay, however, absolutely impact our world, for better or worse.
To directly influence tourism for a net positive impact, a growing number of travel enterprises are adapting sustainable measures. Some properties are renovating to become eco-friendly, and some tour operators are moving to improve their footprint, environmental impact, and hiring of local guides.
Sustainable Travel Actions You Can Take
For those individuals wishing to take action to help make travel sustainable, consider the following. Tourism boards and tour operators can work alongside communities to align with the needs of the local municipalities and destinations, while helping protect the indigenous species and local heritage. Destination experts and travel leaders can provide input to governments and travel entities to help lobby for and better implement sustainable travel policies and adherence. Travel businesses can install sustainable practices in their infrastructure, properties and how they source any kind of resources to provide local employment and patronize local businesses.
Perhaps most importantly, travelers can search specifically for sustainable tour operators and sustainable travel destinations, choosing to enjoy seeing the world on vacation while making those responsible purchases.
The Sustainable Journeys of Nomadic Expeditions
Our founder and CEO Jalsa Urubshurow founded Nomadic Expeditions–the leading provider of custom travel services to Mongolia, India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan—with the mission to enrich lives while protecting places. Since our founding in 1992, Nomadic Expeditions has become the national benchmark for sustainable tourism.
Guided by the United Nations Development Programme’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we continuously strive to enrich local lives, protect the places we visit, and spread best practices while providing once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. When traveling with Nomadic Expeditions, you can be assured that your unforgettable vacation is contributing directly to our efforts to building a more sustainable future for the places and communities you visit.
We are proud that 100% of our in-country staff are local citizens across our destinations. To ensure that each one of our staff meets our high professional standards, we offer a comprehensive capacity building program that has trained an impressive number of tour guides, cooks, drivers, housekeepers, servers, reservation specialists and travel managers since our founding, translating into hundreds of full-time, sustainable livelihoods and careers in the travel and hospitality industry.
Nomadic Expeditions has played a key role in promoting Mongolia as a world-class travel destination by pioneering sustainable luxury tourism within the country, we have also created alternative employment opportunities for local communities outside of the national mining industry – empowering residents to prosper and benefit directly from travel.
In addition to extensive internal sustainability initiatives, Nomadic Expeditions also supports a diverse array of organizations around the globe that are working to safeguard the planet’s heritage and uplift its communities, further demonstrating our commitment to building a healthier, more prosperous home for all.
— Captain Planet Foundation
— Children’s Tumor Foundation
— Arts Council of Mongolia
— Explorers Club
— The Peregrine Fund
— Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Three Camel Lodge Vision & Leadership
Our sister property, the Three Camel Lodge, opened in 2002, offers travelers the spirit of Mongolia and its nomadic people through authentic experiences while preserving the very earth and culture the lodge proudly showcases.
Also founded by Jalsa Urubshurow, the Three Camel Lodge was born from our vision to create Mongolia’s most inspiring and sustainable eco-lodge. Using ancient Buddhist temple construction methods, the unique property was painstakingly built to reflect traditional Mongolian culture, respect our pristine surroundings, and serve as an active community resource—all while providing a truly unparalleled guest experience.
We follow the three pillars of sustainable tourism at Three Camel Lodge and within our community: Environmental Stewardship, Natural and Cultural Preservation, and Community Empowerment. Our unwavering commitment is guided by the United Nations Development Programme’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and each guest stay directly supports efforts to conserve our natural resources, protect our cultural traditions and improve the quality of life for Gobi residents.
Three Camel Lodge Sustainability Initiatives
- We have joined recently joined Beyond Green—a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainable leadership. Launched on November 17, 2020, Beyond Green was created to provide a more purposeful way to explore the world where good guests meet good hosts, presenting genuine hospitality by the people for the planet.
- Past and present live as one in the Gobi, which is why we are committed to protecting the region’s priceless dinosaur fossils from illegal extraction in nearby paleontological sites, while supporting scientific inquiry.
- Since 2008, we have proudly supported local students studying traditional Mongolian music and dance at the Gobi’s Hanhongor School, and we regularly share their talents with our guests through private lodge performances.
- In partnership with the Arts Council of Mongolia, we also launched a scholarship program in 2019 to fully sponsor five talented local students who wish to continue studying music and performing arts at the university level.
- Three Camel Lodge was built to honor Mongolia’s nomadic heritage and reflect the Gobi’s distinct sense of place through traditional architecture and design, relying on local materials and guided by environmentally friendly practices.
- Guests can shop for local artisan handicrafts in our gift shop and appreciate the Gobi way of life while watching herds of animals drinking from our outdoor watering hole, accompanied by their nomadic owners.
- From the beginning, we have remained deeply integrated with our Gobi community and continue to serve as a valuable resource in the region.
- Our onsite well provides water each day for thousands of animals belonging to nomadic herders; we also provide animal feed and grass during harsh winters.
- We sponsor English classes and sports teams in a nearby school, and in 2018 we brought a team of optometrists to give eye exams to community members, resulting in the distribution of over 1,000 eyeglasses.
- Providing full-time employment and professional capacity building to local community members is fundamental to our company’s sustainability mission, and we are proud to employ a 100% Mongolian staff.
- We currently employ 20+ staff year-round, in contrast to most Mongolian lodges, which only hire for the three-month tourism season.
- In order to support sustainable community supply chains and help grow the local economy, our purchasing and contracting policies favor local families, small Gobi businesses, and artisans selling locally-crafted goods.
- We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination.
- We are also marking a milestone as our US office building uses 100% solar energy.
It Takes All of Us
So, this Earth Day, let us devote ourselves more fully to participating in sustainable tourism as a force for good. When tourism works to successfully protect natural and cultural heritage, it also invests in safeguarding this legacy for future generations. Sustainable tourism will only successfully transform the entire industry if we each do our part.