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Cel Tours Takes On Mongolia

Mary Souli, Cel’s managing director, was awarded with the title “Ambassador of Cultural Communication between Mongolia and Greece.”

Mary Souli, Cel’s managing director, was awarded with the title “Ambassador of Cultural Communication between Mongolia and Greece.”

There are times when a visitor to a foreign country feels more comfortable in this new environment there than at his or her home. That’s the feeling Mary Souli experienced on her recent trips to Mongolia. She was there to create new package programs for her company, Cel Tours.

“I found we have a lot in common,” says Ms. Souli, Cel’s managing director. “They even listen to popular Greek music and up-market Greek composers.” But what surprised her most was the people’s tranquility.

People there, she says, appear to be happy and satisfied with life as they are far removed from consumerism and thus content with what they have. When offered money for simple but appreciated services, the Mongolians she encountered replied with: “What on earth am I to do with that.”

Because Ms. Souli believes there is no other place in the world like Mongolia, she created four packages to the destination in combination with other Asian destinations. Her first group of 100 Greek travelers arrived back here with nothing but praise.

Ms Souli says Mongolia has much to offer, from Tibetan monasteries that offer an inner peace many just dream of, to the world’s second biggest desert, to primal wild-animal hunting treks where you can experience “a trip to the end of the world,” but they have to be booked almost a year in advance.

But don’t be fooled, she says, this is not pot-bottom travel. The country sports five-star and three-star hotels, good food and an airline with a fleet of brand new Boeing passenger jets.

And besides exciting, unique adventure experiences -nomad tent living, riding, rafting, hunting, winter sports- she says there are opportunities to pick up some very high quality goods in leather and cashmere. Ms. Souli is so impressed with the destination that she plans to create cultural exchange programs, including artistic events, with Mongolia. Her first mission is to arrange for Greek wrestling athletes to visit Mongolia and compete in friendly games. Mongolian leaders are impressed.

So much so that the awarded Ms. Souli with the title “Ambassador of Cultural Communication between Mongolia and Greece.” That title goes along with her others, such as Ambassador of Tourism for India and China.

Meanwhile, she says that like other destinations she has opened up to the Greek traveler, Mongolia is “a country to discover.”

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