Travel and Tourism - Mongolia - November 2012
Mongolia’s economy is heavily based on its rich natural resources of gold, copper, coal and a number of other rare earth minerals. However, the country has identified tourism as a sector that can be developed in an attempt to diversify its economy and create jobs. While almost half a million tourists visited the country in 2011, most of these were travelling for business or to visit friends and relatives (VFR). Leisure tourism is still relatively embryonic, and mainly attracts adventure tourists as well as those travelling overland across Asia.
Tourism data show that there has been little growth in tourist arrivals in recent years (although day visitors have increased significantly), and there has been a decline in leisure arrivals from most of the top 15 source markets. However, with improved air access, better internal air links and improved roads, there is likely to be an upturn in tourism over the next decade. Mongolia can also expect to benefit from the growth in popularity of China as a destination, with some visitors crossing the border into Mongolia to explore other countries in the area.
There is evidence of increased international investment in tourism within the country, and linked to this, an improvement in infrastructure. This will also attract visitors, both for leisure and other purposes of visit. The Mongolian government has set a target of attracting 1 million tourists to the country by 2015. While this is somewhat ambitious, and is unlikely to be achieved, Mongolia offers a tourism product that is appealing enough to generate significant growth in arrivals over the period to 2020.
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