The main reason for our trip to Hovd and Uvs described in previous blog entries was research. For both my research at Brighton and the study funded by Netherlands Mongolia Environment Organisation (NEMO) and World Bank I wanted to interview herders, to find out about their experiences and expectations of tourism. We interviewed 9 herder communities and now have more than 5 hours of recorded interviews to transcribe.
At soum in Uvs there was a well equipped concrete ger, provided in 2007 by an international NGO and regional government, to help the community host tourists Unfortunately nobody had considered how to establish links with tourism businesses or whether a concrete building was appropriate in a protected area and the community had received no tourists. As we left the community leader said "I have one request. Please can you help us establish links with tour operators and receive tourists"
It was such ill conceived interventions by donors which achieve little and raise expectations that inspired me to do a research degree.