“Zanjan Fromer and his team provided top notch creative and logistic support for an episode of “The Amazing Race” for CBS. His creative problem solving and fast thinking helped us get through some very tough situations and in the end added one of the more memorable episodes to an Emmy and DGA award winning season.” – Barry Hennessey (Senior Field Producer for The Amazing Race – Season 10)
MR. ZANJAN FROMER
Alaskan Native Founder
Mr. Zanjan Fromer has been working in the film, media, tourism and social economic development fields for well over 20+ years. Mr. Fromer is internationally recognized by renown institutions for over a decade (National Geographic Society, Ashoka Changemakers, USAID, SDC, UNWTO, etc.), and is the first American to be awarded the Ministerial Gold Star of Leadership (Medal of Honor) for his successful contributions towards Mongolia’s transitional development. Mr. Fromer is also National Geographic Society‘s certified Geotourism Ambassador and only International Specialist (Film/TV) in Mongolia that has both Emmy and DGA associated production wins – The Amazing Race – Season 10.
Mr. Zanjan Fromer has an incredible history of social economic development and if you desire to learn more about Mr. Fromer we highly recommend that you visit his online portfolios at: Zanjan-Fromer.com – LastLifeline.org – Project Verify – Responsible Tours – Blogs
MS. BAYARSUREN YALALT
Ms. Bayarsuren Yalalt graduated top of her class with a Masters Degree in Tourism Business and Management – Ms. Yalalt has co-founded GERtoGER with Mr. Fromer, she is a massively driven to assist nomadic families connect with the greater tourism industry. Ms. Yalalt and Mr. Fromer have spearheaded the international Expo marketing works that has led to a greater industry awareness; today in addition to working with rural Mongolia, Ms. Yalalt remains locally active via industry working groups that desire to advance Mongolia’s tourism industry.
Ms. Yalalt was recently recognized by the Mongolian Tourism Association for her years of contributions towards the development of Mongolia’s Tourism Industry.
GER TO GER FINANCES A NOMADS SURGERY AND RECOVERY
HASHHUU SUFFERED FROM A SERIOUS INJURY SINCE CHILDHOOD – HE WASN’T ABLE TO WALK NORMALLY, COULDN’T MOUNT A HORSE BY HIMSELF AND ALWAYS REQUIRED SOMEONES ASSISTANCE WHILE HERDING ANIMALS, ETC., AS HIS WIFE EXPLAINS BELOW…
SURGERY FINANCED BY GER TO GER: AS HASHHUU’S FAMILY DIDN’T HAVE THE FINANCES FOR A COMPLETE HIP-REPLACEMENT SURGERY DURING A RANDOM INTERNATIONAL VISITATION OF SURGEONS – HIS ONE CHANCE… ESPECIALLY IN A COUNTRY WHERE ‘YOUR HEALTH’ MEANS YOUR SURVIVAL…
Hashhuu After Surgery – FIRST TIME since a child he’s able to stand properly
Definitive LIST of how GER to GER ACTIVELY FULFILLS the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Today’s major issue in Mongolia are irresponsible tour operators/competitors unethically profiteering/gaining from the ‘responsible tourism’ brand by sabotaging Responsible Tour Operators’ markets via disruptors, trolls, scammers, etc., that use Trip Advisor to damage the alternative incomes of nomadic families via factless statements of concern that the tourism industry “damages” nomads. What truly damages nomadic families are unethical individuals/scams/dishonest reviews and lack of market distinction now between responsible and irresponsible as everyone claims to be ‘responsible’. Hence, GERtoGER is using SDGs to highlight our ‘Responsible Tourism’ methodology:
- SDG 1 – NO POVERTY: 80% of Humanitarian Trips’ finances are returned to rural nomads, drivers, etc.; 20% towards rural communities’ marketing and workshops.
- SDG 2 – ZERO HUNGER: We have/continue to employ nomadic families who are the poorest of the poor.
- SDG 3 – GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: trainings on health/safety/reduce sanitation illnesses (Hepatitis A, etc.); incomes for medical insurance, visits, medication, surgeries, etc.
- SDG 4 – QUALITY EDUCATION: Via workshops/incomes nomadic adults/children are receiving education via workshops (locals/internationals), schools, high schools and universities.
- SDG 5 – GENDER EQUALITY: Over 70% of our national managers are women; rurally, women care for travelers’ family experience (food, drink, etc.) while men generally guide (though some women guide).
- SDG 6 – CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION: (TRAINING/OPERATIONS) 1) nomads/travelers – “Leave No Trace” 2) waste management to mitigate watershed damages along routes, etc.
- SDG 7 – AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY: assisted all nomadic families to obtain savings accounts across Mongolia – credit histories used for financial services/small-loans to procure solar/wind powered units.
- SDG 8 – DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: Social economic development via tourism while combatting negative aspects of open market growth. Over 90% of HR are rural; via “Geotourism” we strengthen rural supply chains.
- SDG 9 – INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE: “GER to GER” is the Mongol Empire’s ancient “kinetic supply chain” – today this ancient supply chain advances Mongolia’s social economic aspirations.
- SDG 10 – REDUCE INEQUALITIES: In addition to financial equality, SDG initiatives in Mongolia and abroad – for the last 6+ years we’ve been tracking, mapping, countering, etc., a variety of “inequalities” from Asia to EU to mitigate home-grown issues across multiple countries/internet-platforms.
- SDG 11 – SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES: GERtoGER meshes “kinetic” and “static” supply chains into itineraries, products, etc., towards advancing social economic development. GERtoGER’s founder has spent 23+ years assisting Mongolia through its post-Soviet transitional development (tourism, meat, cashmere) – first USAID funded “The Competitiveness Initiative”.
- SDG 12 – RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: 1) travelers are trained on “subsistence nomadic lifestyles, traditions, history, etc.” 2) nomadic tribes are provided with cashmere-alternatives owing to overgrazing issues (sharp increase in goat numbers); sustainable eco-incomes vs. land degradation incomes that impacts nomadism, livestock, GDPs, nature/environment.
- SDG 13 – CLIMATE ACTION: We have conducted Nomad Relief Efforts during climatic disasters; films, media pieces, awareness campaigns, etc. 2) We established networks ‘that can’ monitor trends (goats, desertification, watershed situations, weather impacts on land degradation, etc.)
- SDG 14 – LIFE BELOW WATER: Via workshops all herder/travelers are trained about the importance of water resources in relation to mitigating waste related issues, etc. Though Mongolia may not have oceans – the quality of Mongolia’s watersheds are vital to nomadic populations throughout the country. Mr. Fromer assisted USAID Gobi Initiative’s “Watershed Monitoring” program works as the quality of the watersheds directly impacts Mongolia’s GDPs (cashmere, meat, tourism) as nomadic families are the core “node” of all three industries.
- SDG 15 – LIFE ON LAND: Via workshops herders/travelers are trained about the importance of land resources in relation to mitigating waste related issues, watershed impacts on land quality, weather/climatic degradation of land, etc., in addition to serious issues pertaining to overgrazing, etc., GER to GER has established nomadic networks ‘that can’ monitor such remote concerns (GDP concerns).
- SDG 16 – PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS: We promote the UN’s UDHRs within Mongolia, social media, etc. Mr. Fromer encourages all countries to “maintain the peace” via making the general public aware of social-issues (extremists, oppression OPS, racial hate CRIMES, etc.) that may indeed hinder social economic development.
- SDG 17 – PARTNERSHIP FOR THE GOALS: Via social media networks (Facebooking, Twitter, etc.), partners, donors, etc., we proactively expand our initiatives.
- “Responsible-Tours.org“ established by GER to GER and the Founder, this new Initiative is being launched by “The Global Practitioners” to assist International CBTs, CSR Initiatives, alternative community travel networks and Geotourism Initiatives
- “LastLifeLine.org“ under the GERtoGER Foundation this new Initiative aims to match Global Issues of the aforementioned “MDGs/SDGs” that require exposure to better link with like-minded organizations.
Responsible Travel Notes:
* All Humanitarian Trips and Homestays are 100% “Reality Trips” that are managed and operated by locals and nomadic families; GER to GER Office operates ONLY AS A Humanitarian “Travel Agent” for communities (non-tour operator).
* GER to GER humanitarian trips is about “Reality” – real families, real lifestyles, real situation, etc. (who are the Mongols? And not about our expectations).
* GER to GER humanitarian trips are not an amusement park experience – it’s about awareness/respecting nomadic lifestyle and learning “their ways” (not ours), etc.
* GER to GER is an opportunity for people to learn how to integrate within other cultures vs. other cultures catering to our international norms and standards that we have become overly accustomed too and demand others to adhere too (like paid entertainment slaves).
* GER to GER has generated over a Million USD towards Mongolia’s social economic development via supply-chain synergies and provides over 80% of its revenues toward rural nomadic families that greatly need this alternative income source.
Some Successes from 1000s include:
“Ger to Ger saved my husband’s health in 2016… Ger to Ger paid for his entire hip replacement surgery/one month’s physical therapy treatment cost at the Korean Hospital. Today, he is working by himself and started to herd animals alone without requiring other people’s assistance; his backbone pain gone forever.”
“The benefits of working with Ger to Ger are countless.”
“Income that my family earned from tourism sector has paid for my husband’s rehab and medical treatment for his liver.”
A Nomad States
“My additional revenue from tourism industry benefitted my livestock to grow sustainably as I had no longer kill animals to pay my four children’s tuitions and my wife’s liver treatment.”
“After collecting my salary for couple years, I was able to pay for my two older daughters’ university tuitions. The oldest daughter fulfilled her dream as a pre-med student and the other one studied Korean language. The young two daughters are studying in English school and high school specialized in math.”
“I used my salary to purchase more animals for my family and a horse cart so I don’t need to beg other families to lend us their cart so my family can move during seasonal migration.”
“In 2008, my brother was killed due to unsafe working conditions in the unlicensed Nalaih mines. If my husband and I were not working at Ger to Ger, my husband could have been killed too. It’s truly wonderful that Ger to Ger assisted my family and also saved my life for my children… I’m always Appreciative.”
“In 2006, Ger to Ger invited my family to become a host family however we had no financial resources and no animals to transport travelers. Regardless of our challenges, Ger to Ger team extended their hands by recommending to rent animals and Gers from other families until we were able to procure our own.”
“We used to herd for other families for many years because we did not have our own animals. But after working with Ger to Ger our livelihoods improved and we purchased our own animals; and herding them now. Also few years ago, one of my sons had heart problem and had to have urgent surgery. If we did not work with Ger to Ger and did not earn money from tourism sector we could not have afford to pay the surgery cost and save my son. Today my son is healthy and herding animals, next year he will start studying in University.”
100% Proven AND Traceable History
Short List – Timeline of Achievements, Honors and Recognitions:
- A Brief Timeline of Achievements, Honors and Recognitions:
- 2019 Petit Fute Guidebook and Online Marketing – GERtoGER.org
- 2019 Zurich, Switzerland’s International Travel Fair (FESPO) – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2018/19 Trip Advisor – Officially Recognized as a “Recommended Business” – GERtoGER.org
- 2018 Taipai, Taiwan’s International Travel Market – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2018 Korean International Travel Fair (KOTFA) – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2018 Panelist Speaker at the USAID Funded LEAD SUMMIT (Leaders for Democracy)
- 2017 World Travel Market London, UK – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org and Responsible.Tours
- 2017 Seoul International Travel Mart Expo – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org and Responsible.Tours
- 2017 COTTM, Beijing’s International Travel Exhibition – GERtoGER.org TEAM
- 2017 ITB Berlin, Germany International Travel – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2016/17 Mongolia Producer of “Dani’s Way”; first trilateral international production between Beijing, USA and Mongolia – supported by Mongolia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- 2016 World Travel Market (WTM) London, England – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2016 ITB Berlin, Germany International Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2015 THE MINISTERIAL GOLD STAR – MEDAL OF HONOR FOR LEADERSHIP with PASSPORT BOOK & SEAL
- 2015 WTM London Travel International Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2015 ITB Berlin, Germany International Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2006-Today Official Partner of Give2Asia (USA501c3)
- 2005-Pres. IMDb Profile and Some Client Listings; The Amazing Race, No Strangers, In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan, etc.
- 2014 Certified Member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)
- 2008-2014 Lonely Planet “…most innovative tourism concept in Mongolia, …top of every traveller’s wish list…”
- 2014 ITB Berlin, Germany Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2014 Adventure Travel Show London Exhibitor
- 2014 Hong Kong Adventure International Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor – GERtoGER.org
- 2013 WTM London Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor/Approved by Ministry – GERtoGER.org
- 2013 Rough Guides – Meet the Locals – How to Immerse Yourself on Your Local Travels
- 2012 COTTM Beijing, China International Travel Exhibition – Official Exhibitor – GERtoGER.org
- 2012 National Geographic’s “World’s Best Travel Experiences” #8 – GERtoGER.org
- 2010 National Geographic Society – Geotourism Ambassadorship
- 2010 National Geographic Society – Global Finalist Certificate
- 2010 Honored by National Geographic as one of World’s Innovative Travel Entrepreneurs (press release)
- 2010 National Geographic Geotourism Guide – GERtoGER.org
- 2009 Top Ten Global Finalist of National Geographic Society and Ashoka Changemakers “Power of Place” Geotourism Challenge
- 2009 WHL Travel’s Urban Adventures Award
- 2009 Tour Dust’s Scholarship Award
- 2009 National Geographic Society’s Weekend Broadcast
- 2007 NBC UNIVERSAL STUDIO’S Syfy Channel – “Destination Truth” – Josh Gates
- 2007 United States Agency for International Development Grant Winner
- 2007 Officially recommended by UNESCAP at its 63rd Session – Page 14
- 2006-07 Established the Give2Asia.org – GER to GER Fund with the Assistance of Loreena McKennitt (internationally famed Singer) and The Asian Foundation
- 2006 National Geographic Society Washington D.C. Museum – personally requested Mr. Zanjan Fromer to make and produce the Centerpiece Film for “Mongolia: Rebirth of Traditions”
- 2006 Official Partner/Country Production Fixer for CBS’s The Amazing Race: Season 10 Episode 2 – Won both an Emmy and DGA
- 2005 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Grant Winner
- 2005 World Bank Tender Winner – Cross-Industry Supply Chain and Competitiveness Study and Analysis
100% Fair Review about our Humanitarian Trips
My husband and I are in our late 30s, travel a lot, and have a pretty flexible budget so over time have taken every possible trip: guided group guided private, self guided and everything in-between. Ger to Ger is like nothing else we’ve done and became one of our best travel experiences.
We did what the Mongolia Budget Trekking Trip Through Khangai Mountain Range for 10 days in August 2016. Ger to Ger provides an orientation and a bus ticket to a starting point and from there, you rely on new family each day as your host. At each yurt/ger, you get lunch, then participate in some sort of household activity, eat dinner, spend the night in a guest ger and then next morning after breakfast get transported by the host to the next family. The families speak zero English so you communicate using gestures, phrase book and drawings, which ends up being surprisingly functional and fun. The accommodations are very basic (outhouse, no electricity, etc.) but clean and comfortable. The nature is breathtaking – the steppe is bright green, vast and pristine as families are widely dispersed to have enough pasture area for their animals.
There are a lot of negative reviews in Ger to Ger forums so we we wanted to focus on addressing a few points that come up in them.
Owner’s Note: This statement is actually misleading as there are only a handful of dishonest reviews (approx. less than 10 which is way less than 1% of GER to GER clients from 6,000+) across a timeline spanning some 7+ years on the same Lonely Planet Thorn Tree/Trip Advisor thread. It may seem a lot and all recent but they are not – maybe 1 or 2 complaints/dishonest reviews (scams) per season from 400+ travelers per year… can’t satisfy everyone.
First, about the orientation (2-hour overview of the trip in Ger to Ger offices). Yes, the owner comes off a bit arrogant and his approach doesn’t really match what Westerners are accustomed to. But after you do the trip, you forgive him. The creativity and drive to build this unique type of tourism and the value he has delivered to local community and to foreigners’ ability to get to know Mongolia qualifies him for some serious slack www.Zanjan-Fromer.com . Plus, we think some of his behavior is intentionally theatrical to get tourists in the mindset to not expect hand holding – the whole point of this type of a trip.
Owner’s Note: We only have a couple hours to train you what typically takes days of professionally training – so it’s our goal to create “thought provocative” curriculums and it could be an information overload for some; however very necessary to maintain our 99+% health/safety record.
On a personal note, I’m not an arrogant individual, however, I’m indeed a passionate and committed field specialist that has sacrificed 23+ years of my life towards international humanitarian works – sure I’m confident, professionally informative/knowledgeable (that’s why I give the trainings) yet very flexible/patient…. but not arrogant (as I don’t introduce all my international awards, etc., upon meeting new people).
But if you like to see my credentials please by all means visit my site at www.Zanjan-Fromer.com
Next, the itinerary. Our biggest advice to fellow travelers is to open the Day by Day provided and write in before Day 1 ‘itinerary is for illustration purposes only – actual route, activities and transportation will vary’. The website says things will shift yet people are still upset about the changes so this exercise will force you to really get onboard with it. For example, our first ger day was supposed to be at family X, the activity was sowing traditional outfits and transportation next day was a 25km hike. Instead, we ended up at family Y, our activity turned out to be watching a newly slaughtered sheep being cleaned and butchered and the following day we went to the next family on horseback. For the remaining days at dinner, we would draw pictures with locals figuring out which family, how far and how our next morning was to be spent. What was amazing is that each family knew exactly what and how was to happen so the whole thing worked like a well-oiled machine. It just didn’t follow the writing in the brochure which created a sense of adventure and gave my husband and I (both highly structured business owners back in the US) an opportunity to completely relinquish the sense of control, time and expectations, which was exhilarating.
Owner’s Note: for traveler safety, cultural nuances, etc., nomadic families are allowed to modify trips in accordance with local requirements. We try to elaborate on this on our website, brochures, social media accounts, emails, training workshops, etc., so I’m not sure why it’s considered to be a surprise – we have to ensure that our operations DON’T overly interfere with nomadic culture and lifestyles. We as foreigners need to learn how to become apart of different cultures/societies rather than trying to impose our western methodologies onto foreign cultures.
Lastly, on hiking. Of the 9 days, we only hiked from yurt to yurt 4 times. One time we went by horse (I’ve never been on one, so the idea was initially nerve wrecking but it all worked out – the host held my horse’s rains the entire way). Four times we went on a back of a motorbike and learned that riding one through a steppe is one of the most fun experiences you’ll ever have. For those of you who are like us and were looking forward to the long hiking days listed in the itinerary, fear not. You can easily get plenty of hiking time after you arrive to next family (around 1pm or so). There are clear cattle paths that you can follow and make up for the kilometers you’ve expected.
Owner’s Note: indeed there are tons of trekking and explorations that everyone can conduct as you will be using your nomadic gers as “base camps”. For the avid explore this is truly going to be a “brilliant experience” however for the typical city-type of tourists – this is going to be a learning curve; however, we do train you and have maintained a 99% success rate! So there is not real reason to be overly worried 🙂
This trip truly will allow you to get to know Mongolia and Mongolians like no other and it will expand your view of the world and travel.
We intentionally try to keep this more “culturally authentic” by training foreigners to let go and learn the Mongol-ways instead of trying to force the Nomadic Families to overly adapted our western-ways… We are international field specialists with decades of out-in-the-field expertise, the last thing we’ll be doing is making a “Disneyland” experience… It’s not to say Disneyland is bad – it’s not as I do enjoy it myself as well – however, it’s not in the best interest of nomadic families NOR international travelers if we try to unethically force locals to adhere to such “entertainment parks” methodologies of customer service… instead we focus on Nomadic Cultural Service as one of our main training core components.
WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK ABOUT US?
Our Success Rate
Well over 95% are satisfied clients
CONTINUOUS ACTION IS MORE MEANINGFUL THAN WORDS ALONE – EXCELLENCE IS A SUSTAINED HABIT
“If you are thinking to take a tour in Mongolia this is the place to shop. Forget about all other agencies that offer traditional touristic tours with a English speaking guide, sleeping in tourost camps, etc. Ger to Ger will place you in real nomadic family without a tour guide so you will be on your own, sleeping in real gers with family, eating with family etc. I took 2 humanitarian tours (Dairy and Gobi) and no doubt one of my best experiences in my life.”
RESULTS FROM THE LAST 7,000 TRAVELERS
“If you want to get an idea of what traditional life in Mongolia is like while also staying off the beaten track, this is the place to book a tour. I did a three day tour in the Middle Gobi region and a 6-day tour in Bulgan Province. I stayed in Mongolia near the end of april, which is a good time temperature-wise. Both tours greatly exceeded my expectations, as did the service provided by GerToGer…”
“…I thoroughly enjoyed staying with these people and want to thank GerToGer. These tours were the best combination of feeling safe (knowing you can always call them in case of emergency) and experiencing something real and unique. Definitely a highlight of my travels, you can’t miss this if you are visiting Mongolia!”