Mongolia’s Tourism Sector
Mongolia has its own unique culture, customs, and way of life that appears in its tourism sector. Though Mongolia has expanse, broad lands with rich history and cultural landscape, the tourism sector is not developing at a high level due to inadequate infrastructure, unprofessional services, lack of communications, insufficient investment, and seasonal effects. As of 2017, the contribution of tourism to the GDP of Mongolia was 3.1% that amounted to about 471,940 tourists a year. There are more than 270 tour companies, 499 hotels, around 375 tourist camps that are operating in this sector with a total of 54,000 working people.
The Bank of Mongolia collected data with a sample survey on the expenses of foreign tourists traveling to Mongolia in 2011 and 2015. This survey of 2015 reveals that the foreign tourists spent around 1,744 USD on the average in the 14 day stay in Mongolia. In particular, individual tourists spent 1,526 USD, and tourists on the package tours spent 2,383 USD. After subtracting the 30% of the foreign company’s profit, the percentage was set by the survey of 2011 by Bank of Mongolia, from the total expenses of the package tours, the remaining profit for our country will be 2,033 USD.
The average expense of individual tourists shows that they have spent 30% on hotels, 24% on restaurants, 20% on purchasing goods. Whereas, package tour tourists paid 72% of the total expenditure to a travel company.
The foreign tourists’ average expense in Mongolia was increased by 31% on average in 2015, compared to the 2011 survey by the Bank of Mongolia. It is related to an increase in inflation over the past 4 years. Specifically, the average annual inflation rate per year was 11% in July when most tourists visited Mongolia. Thereof, hotels and public food services increased by 12%, transportation services by 7%, recreational and cultural services by 2%, and other services by 11%.
The majority of tourists (76%) traveled to Mongolia due to the marvelous Mongolian traditional culture and customs, beautiful nature and wildlife. From the survey participants, 13% said that our country’s tourism service was excellent, 46% – good, 20% – satisfactory, 17% – moderate, 4% – bad. Further, 76% of tourists answered that they would come again.
Moreover, the relative satisfaction of tourists and the intention to travel again to Mongolia shows the possibility to solve the problems of the sector’s development and increase the economic efficiency and international competitiveness of the sector by optimally managing the sector’s development policy, private-public sector, and citizen’s involvement, cooperation.
There are 1,400 companies registered to operate in the tourism sector in Mongolia, and as of the end of 2017, more than 270 entities were actively operating. These entities are the members of the Mongolian Tourism Union, and they cooperate with the Government, relevant ministries, and administrations through unions regarding the sector’s urgent problems.