Nature and Nomads: Service Approach to Mongolia Tours

Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2018

Department 1

Center for Global Education


Tourism has potential to diversify Mongolia’s geopolitically challenged economy. Tourism development and promotion has increased since 1990, and there is reason to expect continued sector growth. Cultural tourism has potential to commodify or degrade cultural resources (Gilbert, 2006, Pigliasco, 2010, Soma & Suhkee, 2014) and alter the physical landscape and identity of local people (Chang & Yeoh, 1999, Seng, 2005, Phua & Berkowitz, 2014). As tourism in Mongolia increases, its effects on cultural resources should be understood. This study of Mongolian tourism interviews fifteen tour company employees to understand how Mongolian culture is perceived and used from a business perspective. What attractions do companies visit and why? How is the government involved? What does this imply for tourism stakeholders? Data shows that Mongolia tour companies lacks standard protocol, making individual companies responsible for tourist activity and resource management. When a limited number of resources are used in different ways, fragmentation may undermine collective interests like cultural preservation. There also appears to be multiple and even contradictory perspectives on cultural authenticity, which complicates the role of nomadic people. Issues of seasonal contracting and exclusive growth are also discussed. The research fills some gaps in Mongolian tourism literature and provides a base for further research.


Written as part of the SIT Mongolia: Nomadism, Geopolitics, and the Environment program.