Thursday, 04 July 2013 11:28

Special Interest Tourism in Mongolia to be Developed

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(0 votes) expects to receive half a million foreign tourists this year. The Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Oyungerel Tsedevdamba gave interview on recent and future development of Mongolian tourism. (25 June 2013)

What policy is your Ministry pursuing in order to increase number of repeat visitors to Mongolia?

Out of 100 tourists visiting Mongolia, 95 never come again. This is the weakest point of tourism industry in Mongolia. Since all aimags, provinces and tourists camp provide similar services such as horse riding and accommodation in gers, many tourists leave Mongolia asking themselves why they should come to Mongolia again. We conducted survey among tourists who visited Mongolia repeatedly. Many of them reported that they come to Mongolia because many migratory birds lay eggs in Mongolia and there are many interesting birds unique to Mongolia. Our Ministry has identified a need to update its programme to attract tourists’ interests and announced policy to support special interest tourism. Mongolia has potential to develop many types of special interest tourism such as adventure, paleontological, bird watching, cultural, historical, nomadic and religious as well as sports tourism and special tourism related to the research about Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan). Although special interest tourism may look like just visiting sites or places that has a relation or connection with travelers’ specific interests it has big economic benefits. For example, let’s imagine there are two ger camps both located at Khuvsgul lake offering similar gers, similar food and similar service. They enter into price competition with each other thus decreasing profit margin for both. But situation can be different in special interest tourism. While one travel company provides sport tour, another one can provide cultural tour. For example, Uuriin-Od camp located in Terelj performs equestrian circus and dresses visitors in Mongolian warrior outfit and allows them to perform mounted archery. I can also name another camp located in Bayanchandmani area of Tuv aimag. That camp promotes sport tourism by offering stayers to practice on special karate tatami mat.

In this regard, what’s the potential of developing sport tourism in Mongolia?

Mongolia is elevated by more than 1000 meters from sea level. If you look at whole Mongolia as a stadium it is the best sport training centers. In countries that are located at or below sea level, athletes have training problems such as sweating, panting as well as insufficient muscle development. It’s proven that training in cooler, dryer and higher elevated areas has positive effect on muscle development.

Could you please tell us how Mongolian sport tourism is promoted abroad?

Our Ministry published National Geographic Travel magazine and 2013 Calendar of Events both in English and Mongolian. The 2013 Calendar of Events covers all tourism events and activities organized by tour companies and local aimag administrations. By distributing this calendar, there will be no change in the events’ address, location and date, which in turn will create dependability in our tourism industry. Such calendar is aimed to increase confidence among travelers. We are also planning to publish directory or Yellow Pages that includes all cultural, sport and tourist destinations, companies and services.

What’s the percentage of tourism industry in Mongolia’s GDP? How do you see its perspective?

Tourism industry used to make up to 30 percent of Mongolia’s GDP until large flow of investments to mining industry began. Profit from mining industry decreased involvement of other industries in the economy. Currently, the tourism is hardly making 10 percent of GDP. However, we still have a chance to present ourselves to the world. Thus, the Government of Mongolia decided to participate in 2015 ITB Berlin as the Official Partner Country and we are planning to dominate with promotion of Mongolia in a such important convention where representatives from 180 countries are gathered each year. We also have a plan for worldwide promotion of Mongolia in 2015. Therefore, 2015 will be our goal year for significant promotion of Mongolia to the world.

© Original material in Mongolian by MONTSAME Mongolian News Agency
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