TravelTuva is an international collaboration between Cultural Transformations LLC and the Tuvan Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Tuvan National Orchestra, and the Center for the Development of Tuvan Traditional Arts. Recognizing Tuva’s vast potential for nature and cultural based tourism and the need to develop new economic opportunities for Tuvan professionals stifled by post-Soviet economic and social challenges, the partnership hopes to utilize the global reach of web based technologies to increase international awareness of Tuvan cultural and natural richness, while introducing Tuva as a tourism destination to international clients. In addition, TravelTuva aims to leverage the power of tourism to aid in the development of Tuvan social institutions and cultural prаctices through collaborative programing. To learn more about TravelTuva staff, partnered Tuvan Ministry of Culture and Tourism officials, and Tuvan cultural program leaders, please read the biographies below.
TravelTuva’s Onsite Affiliates
Aldar Tamdyn is the current Tuvan Minister of Culture and Tourism. An internationally acclaimed throat singer, Aldar is an also a member of the throat singing ensemble Chirgilchin
and the founder of the Tuvan National Orchestra. He has received numerous awards from the Russian Federal Government for his contributions to contemporary Tuvan cultural projects. As a cultural official and Tuvan governmental representative, Aldar is a leading figure in the effort to promote Tuvan cultural identity on the international stage.
As an affiliate of TravelTuva, Aldar administers the Tuvan Ministry of Culture and Tourism staff to ensure the successful development of the Republic of Tuva’s cultural and tourism programs. Aldar’s vision and leadership propelled the creation of TravelTuva, and his dedication to the ongoing development of TravelTuva’s tourism offerings guarantees the successful and sustainable management of Tuva’s cultural and natural resources. Aldar lives in Kyzyl with his wife and son.
Saidai Dargyn serves as TravelTuva’s booking coordinator and onsite administrator. Saidai graduated from the Baltic Academy of Tourism and Business in Saint Petersburg, focusing on organizational management and hotel/restaurant ownership. Saidai currently works full-time as an administrator in the Tuvan Ministry of Culture and Tourism, assisting with the development of tourism products and economic development throughout Tuva.
As TravelTuva’s booking coordinator and onsite administrator, Saidai develops itineraries for TravelTuva clients and finalizes reservations for TravelTuva customers. Saidai provides unfailing professional assistance to clients on the ground, and ensures that each tour operates to our client’s satisfaction. Saidai lives in Kyzyl with her husband.
Kima Dongak is a leading cultural figure of the Republic of Tuva, managing the Tuvan National Dance Ensemble and the Folkloric Dance Ensemble, Edegey. Kima produces cultural programming for Tuvan national cultural events, represents Tuvan culture internationally, and manages the Republic of Tuva’s national guest lodge, Aldyn Bulak. As a TravelTuva affiliate, Kima develops small scale performances for TravelTuva clients and oversees the production of large scale events TravelTuva clients often attend, including festivals, parades, and concerts.
Kima’s unyielding dedication to the promotion of Tuvan culture takes her to internationally recognized venues in China, Mongolia, Russia, and multiple European nations. She works tirelessly to increase global awareness of Tuvan cultures, and is an invaluable professional affiliate to TravelTuva. Kima currently resides in Kyzyl with her two children and her husband, Vyacheslav Dongak.
TravelTuva Program Leaders
Zhenya and Anai-Hak Saryglar are an independent couple living in Kyzyl who offer a number of services for tourists, researchers, and students of Tuvan culture since 2001. Anai-Hak has experience as a professional translator and research assistant in both English and French, and is the administrator and operator of Sai Xhonash, a yurt camp and guest lodge in Western Tuva. Zhenya is an award-winning Tuvan instrumentalist and a member of the Tuvan National Orchestra. A highly respected Tuvan throat singer, Zhenya is also the recipient of the People’s Throat Singer of Tuva Award: the highest honor a throat singer may receive. Zhenya was born and raised in the Western districts of Tuva, where the couple now offers excursions to the Alash river, nomad camps, and horseback trips to Khoolaash in some of the deepest taiga (forest-covered mountains) in all of Tuva.
As Program Leaders affiliated with TravelTuva, Zhenya and Anai-Hak lend their immense professional experience as tour operators and cultural figures to the TravelTuva project. Providing excursions throughout Tuva, throat singing workshops, guest services at Sai Xhonash, and translation and interpretation, Zhenya and Anai-Hak curate the Tuvan experience for TravelTuva clients. TravelTuva is immensely proud to partner with Zhenya and Anai-Hak and stands behind their extraordinary expertise and professionalism.
TravelTuva’s United States Office
Eliot Stone is the founder of TravelTuva and Cultural Transformations LLC. A social anthropologist and entrepreneur, Eliot holds degrees from the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and the Department of Government at The University of Texas in Austin. Based on a long standing interest in Tuvan music, Eliot conducted anthropological fieldwork in Tuva in 2011 and 2013, and is the author of a forthcoming ethnography exploring the lives and careers of Tuvan musicians, artists, and scholars. During his fieldwork, Eliot developed fluency in the Russian language, gained deep understandings of Tuvan culture and history, and became a skilled Tuvan vocalist, receiving multiple awards in Tuva for his performances. Eliot currently serves as TravelTuva’s web content producer and program development consultant. Eliot lives in Austin, Texas where he is employed at the Texas Historical Commission.