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Mongolia: turning tourism into a major part of the economy

The statistics are encouraging. In 2014 Mongolia registered 400,000 visitors, marking a new record. More than 60 per cent usually come to visit cultural attractions and historical sites and 42 per cent to enjoy the scenery and natural attractions. 60 per cent of those who have been to the country say they want to return. Over the past years German tourist numbers have been generally close to 10,000. Tourism accounts for 5.3 per cent of GDP. Oyunkhorol Dulamsuren, Mongolia’s Minister of the Environment, Green Development and Tourism, is aware that these are her country’s three main attractions. In her address at the opening of the ITB Berlin Convention she spoke of the country’s natural attractions, its many cultural aspects and the incredible hospitality. She was delighted to “be here among friends” and thanked the people of Berlin “for making her so welcome.” She had come here to learn, she added. “We want to improve our management skills,” the minister openly admitted. As the show’s partner country Mongolia was keen to present itself as a country that was dynamic and cared about nature. This was something many people had worked hard for. “We want to expand the tourism sector“, said Minister Dulamsuren at the opening of the ITB Future Day, “as tourism creates jobs.“
In terms of the economy especially, her country had become increasingly attractive in recent years. This was due to a wealth in natural resources that few other countries could boast. Mongolia with its population of three million was the world’s fourth fastest growing economy. In addition to mining and agriculture, the country’s main industries, the government wanted tourism to play a major part in the economy. Growth in prosperity meant that it was now possible to invest substantially in the infrastructure and urban development. In 2016 a new international airport 50 kilometres south of Ulaanbaatar is due to open. It boasts six runways and will operate around the clock. By 2020 Mongolia’s economy aims to be ranked eighteenth in the world. The goal is to attract two million tourists and for GDP to grow by 14 per cent. During the plenary session a poll was conducted which resulted 56 per cent responding that in the long term Mongolia needed more tourists.      Redaktionsbüro Schwartz

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