Want to talk with Mongolians (see above) and share cooking styles, or learn how to make and use a bow and arrow? Yes, you can do it virtually from wherever. Dirk Bansemer, GM of the luxury Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace in Ulan Baator has been arranging unique virtual experiences.
This intrepid German was out horseback riding with the local representative of Germany’s cultural trade mission, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, usually called simply ‘GIZ’. They together decided to introduce Mongolia to a wider world via unique marketing at barely any financial outlay. GIZ provided a Toyota Land Cruiser and VW Touareg and drove Bansemer and colleagues 300kms to Dulaan Khan Village, in Selenge Province. The hotel’s team included its IT director, and one of the signature Kempinski lobby hostesses (a Lady in Red), who took along her scarlet outfit for the actual streaming.
Mongolian villages consist of portable ger or yurt, felt-covered circular tents about 15 metres in diameter: as weather and animal migration demand, they can easily be moved. Dulaan Khan Village has nine such ger. One was given over, for this project, to Kempinski’s male team, another to ladies, from the hotel, and GIZ. Baggage included lots of tech equipment, plus a generator and a solar panel to supplement the village’s own power, which they correctly expected to be somewhat inconsistent.
For the first sessions, about 280 tuned in from all over the world. There were seven sessions, 15-45 minutes long, all interactive. Kempinski’s corporate commercial director Amanda Elder has since widely shared how she was ‘chatting’ with a septuagenarian male, as he prepared such popular local Mongolian dishes as Khorkhog, bits of lamb, still on the bone, cooked with onions over hot stones. The Lady in Red translated throughout: all customer-facing employees at the 99-room hotel, currently housing diplomats and others stranded by closed borders, speak good English. Now, by the way, GM Dirk Bansemer is currently supporting, in 2021, what is billed as the world’s longest charity horseback expedition covering 3,000km from east to west of Mongolia, benefitting Misheel Kids Foundation.
From countryside to city centre … For an urban break, with the unique Imperial Palace grounds only five minutes away, think about The Peninsula Tokyo (GM Mark Choon). Its ‘We Meet Again – The 8 Loves of The Peninsula Tokyo’ offer is based on Japan’s lucky number, eight. Choose such benefits as 24-hour check-in and out, Love of food cooking class, Love of art, Love of entertainment, Love of culture, Love of community (donation in your name to a local charity), Love of wellness and Love of transportation (ride in the hotel’s 1934 Vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom 2 around the Imperial Palace grounds).
By the way, this very day, Wednesday 22nd July, Japan launches a boost to domestic tourism – see the Hokkaido video, below. The Go To Travel Campaign will eventually subsidize up to half of expenses, including accommodation and transport fees. This being arranged via such companies as the Japan Association of Travel Agents and travel agency JTB Corp.