Tourism Review Online Magazine - Destination Mongolia

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					Destination
Mongolia: going Hot and Cold




                  Mongolia – known for its vast
                  plains, Nomads and cheerful
                  feasts. Discover the country
                  that is opening up to the global
                  tourist offering pristine nature,
                  rocky mountains as well as
                  tours through the modern capi-
                  tal ulaanbaatar.
                             DESTINATION   m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d


      mongoliA – the Wild          Mongolia is one of the last unspoiled pristine
                                   lands on our small planet – wild, splendid and
                                   virtually intact vastness.

       lAnd of nomAds                Snow-capped mountains, ancient volca-
                                   noes, virgin forests, placid lakes, pure rivers
                                   full of freshwater fish and steppes that are
                                   serenely white or multi-coloured from lush
                                   green, bronze or yellow grass ... Fauna and
                                   flora, although threatened to some extent by
                                   the whims of nature or human excesses, are
                                   extraordinarily diverse and exuberant espe-
                                   cially during warm seasons.
                                     Despite its ceasing resorts of loneliness, it
                                   is still an inhabited wilderness, known in its
                                   unique recesses only by Mongolians who have
                                   roamed the vast plains for centuries. These
                                   friendly and cordial people embody the spirit
                                   of this harsh nature, to which they belong, love
                                   and know so much about.
                                     A half of its 2.5 million inhabitants still pre-
                                   serve a nomadic lifestyle, freely migrating in
                                   the steppes, mountains and deserts and living
                                   on livestock breeding and natural resources,
                                   following      thousand-year-old      traditions.

                                                    did you Know?
                                       • That Mongolians are the only people who
                                         have 54 names for a horse.
                                       • That the first National Park in the world was
                                         established in Mongolia? In 1778 the Bogd
                                         Khaan mountain range was declared as a
                                         National Park.
                                       • That territory of Mongolia is three times the
                                         size of France but its population is 30 times
                                         less than that of France.
                                       MongoliaTourism.gov.mn




June, 2011          — 45 —
                                                                                            DESTINATION   m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d




Although "urbanized", the other half never          tal city, the population of which has reached
loses an occasion to adventure into the infinite    over a million in the last two years
steppes both for pleasure and necessity.              independence of this country after centuries
  Mongols are nomads in the heart. However,         of Manchu domination followed by Russian
unlike other few nomadic nations on earth,          control and survival of a virtually unchanged
their lifestyle is naturally recognized by the      way of life and culture for centuries is almost
country's leaders and compatriots.                  a miracle. Proud of their glorious history, Mon-
  Mongolia is a free democratic country where       gols live in peace with their powerful neigh-
the economy, obviously marked by the col-           bors joining again their beliefs as Animists and
lapse of a communist system once very firmly        Buddhists.
established, depends mainly on livestock that         Despite its geographical enclavement Mon-
is ten times more than the country's popula-        golia opens to the world, and this opening
tion. Sheep, horse, camel, goat, cow and yak        desired by the majority of Mongols will enable
herds graze on rich semi-wild vast pastures         them to test the strength of their identity and
triple the size of France.                          to carry a message of peace, harmony and tol-
  The two terrible winters of 2000 and 2001         erance by the powerful winds of the steppes.
had a severe impact on the country. Many
nomadic families who lost their herds migrated
to settle in the urban areas, mainly in the capi-   http://www.e-mongol.com




June, 2011                                                            — 46 —
                                                                                   DESTINATION        m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d


              mongoliA’s tourism industry
                  fAcing chAllenges
                                                                                              the travel choices of international consum-
                                                                                              ers.
                                                                                                The number of arrivals and departures
                                                                                              declined in 2010. The impact of the global
                                                                                              economic downturn caused travel and tour-
                                                                                              ism products and services to shrink. The
                                                                                              ongoing global economic crisis discouraged
                                                                                              many would be travelers in recession-hit
                                                                                              markets such as the uS, the uk, japan and
                                                                                              Canada.
                                                                                                The number of outbound travelers, which
                                                                                              is underdeveloped, fell significantly as Mon-
                                                                                              golian consumers stayed at home. With holi-
                                                                                              daying still considered a luxury, Mongolian
                                                                                              consumers were further discouraged by weak-
                                                                                              ened purchasing power, persistent inflationary
                                                                                              pressure and a lower exchange rate, and as a
                                                                                              result, travelling abroad was low on their list of
                                                                                              priorities during 2010.

                                                                                                  chinA groWs in importAnce
                                                                                                China has continued to grow in importance
                                                                                              as the leading source of inbound arrivals over
                                                                                              the review period. China’s growing economic
                                                                                              power and geographic proximity have fuelled
The global economic slowdown caused a         heavily. Mongolia has felt the impact of        greater interest in Mongolia. This has helped
dramatic drop in demand for and prices of     the global economic crisis more heavily         drive growth in the number of trips to Mongo-
Mongolian natural resources. The economy      than most countries in Asia. The number         lia. Chinese businesses and government have
and tourism suffered considerably as a con-   of inbound arrivals fell as weak purchasing     increased their demand for development and
sequence. Domestic tourism was impacted       power affected both the ability to travel and   investment in the country’s natural resources,

June, 2011                                                     — 47 —
                                                                                            DESTINATION        m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d


                                                               Arrivals to mongolia
                                                                   (‘000 trips)
                                                                          2009    2010    2011
                                                                                         Forecast
                                                      China               204.5 198.4     198.8
                                                      Russia               51.3 48.8       48.0
                                                      South Korea          48.5 46.8       46.5
                                                      Japan                16.2 15.9       16.1
                                                      USA                  10.9 10.4       10.2
                                                      Germany              8.5   8.2       8.2
                                                      United Kingdom       5.7   5.4       5.2
                                                      France                5.5  5.3        5.3
                                                      ©2011 Euromonitor International



infrastructure and tourism, including highways     tourism focus expAnding Beyond                      boring markets, awareness of Mongolia as an
and hotels.                                                 ulAAnBAAtAr                                appealing holiday destination, particularly for
                                                                                                       adventure travelers, is set to help stimulate
    government involvement –
                                                     ulaanbaatar has long dominated Mongolia’s         growth in international arrivals. Outbound
     BeloW the expectAtions
                                                   travel and tourism industry. The capital city       tourist trips are forecast to recover even later
                                                   is home to the nation’s only international air-     since approvals are needed for outbound trav-
  As a developing economy and a small popu-        port. As a capital city, ulaanbaatar functions      els. in the long term, greater infrastructure
lation the growing interest in Mongolia has        as an economic centre for the rapidly expand-       development by the government will lead to
lead to an almost exclusive focus on the coun-     ing domestic resources industry and is a politi-    a gradual improvement and expansion of the
try’s natural resources, often at the expense of   cal and cultural hub. Relatively little focus has   nation’s road and highway network, which will
industries with great economic potential. Many     been placed on significant tourism develop-         boost domestic travel and support interna-
industry players feel that the government has      ments outside of the capital city.                  tional arrivals.
not sufficiently promoted Mongolia abroad. At
the same time, improvements in the tourism-            sloW recovery AnticipAted
related infrastructure have been slow. This has
created a difficult environment for industry        A slow recovery in Mongolia’s tourism econ-        (Executive summary from Euromonitor International’s
players, with smaller operators especially feel-   omy is expected. Whilst government support is       report )
ing the brunt of the economic downturn.            expected to remain below that seen in neigh-        http://www.euromonitor.com




June, 2011                                                             — 48 —
                                                                                            DESTINATION        m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d


          mongoliA chAnging                                                                            of wealth are becoming increasingly common.
                                                                                                       This is also visible in the new luxury skyscrap-
                                                                                                       ers appearing all over the city and the new

          tourism lAndscApe
                                                                                                       shopping malls bustling with expensive goods.
                                                                                                         This has both positive and negative impacts
                                                                                                       on the country and its tourism industry. Among
                                                                                                       the positive effects is the development of the
                                                                                                       transport infrastructure. A richer country can
                                                                                                       invest in improving roads, opening new airline
                                                                                                       routes and providing incentives to the private
                                                                                                       sector to invest in hospitality and tourism.
                                                                                                         The investments of the private sector can be
                                                                                                       already seen in the development of interna-
                                                                                                       tional brand hotels in ulaanbaatar. Shangri-La,
                                                                                                       Hilton, Best Western, Sheraton and Ramada
                                                                                                       are all in construction and set to open in the
                                                                                                       next couple of years. The new Ramada Hotel
                                                                                                       and Suites will be the first international brand
                                                                                                       hotel to open in uB in june 2011 in the new
                                                                                                       Max towers near the gandan Monastery.
                                                                                                         This will lead to a new phase in Mongolia’s
                                                                                                       tourism development since it will allow high-
                                                                                                       end travelers to make the most of Mongolia’s
                                                                                                       natural beauty and enjoy its incredible diverse
                                                                                                       landscape. The country has a unique set of
                                                                                                       attractions including camels in the gobi, yaks
                                                                                                       in the endless steppes of central Mongolia,
Mongolia, the land of endless steppes and           players keen to make the most of its under-        reindeers in the distant northern mountains –
nomadic traditions is changing; it is happening     ground wealth. The gDP of the country is set       all of this mixed with vast lakes, sand dunes
very fast but is it a change for good or rather a   to triple over the next few years with its small   and some of the most pristine and untouched
change for worse?                                   population (3 million) set to become one of the    natural beauty on earth.
  Mongolia is undergoing an economic                globally wealthiest per capita within the next       Mongolia is one of the few countries in Asia
change – the land of genghis khan is evolving       10 years.                                          to have retained its traditional nomadic heri-
fast and the country has recently joined the          This change is apparent the most in the capi-    tage alive as an important part of its daily life.
world of rapidly developing nations. Thanks to      tal city of ulaanbaatar where its citizens sport   A large portion of the Mongolian population
the abundance of mineral resources, the coun-       new Louis vuitton bags, where cars are new         still lives as nomads and it provides an impor-
try has opened itself up to large global mining     and expensive and where ostentatious displays      tant basis for its economic development.

June, 2011                                                            — 49 —
                                                                                             DESTINATION   m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d




  it is equally likely that the increasing income   a visible impact in the countryside. The posi-
per capita as well as the opening up of the         tive impacts of Mongolia’s economic devel-
country to high end tourism will promote the        opment far outweigh the negative damage
development of adventure sports and recre-          though. Most important of all the develop-
ational activities such as flight schools, para-    ment of Mongolia’s tourism sector will allow
chuting, go-karting, quad biking, hunting and       the country to obtain a diversified source of
the opening up of dedicated recreational parks      wealth which does not involve mining activi-
and facilities all over the country.                ties as well as employ a significant portion of
  it is hoped that within a few years, Mongo-       the population.
lia will be able to develop its tourism sector        The challenge for Mongolia will be to man-
towards winter activities, thereby enabling the     age carefully the enormous increases in rev-
tourism sector to remain active throughout          enues and not ruin its existing potential for the
the year and allowing those working within          sake of cheap tourism or pleasing international
it to become professional tourism operators         operators looking for a more sterile environ-
instead of amateurs who consider it as a sum-       ment for the tourists.
mer job.
  Of course, large scale mining operations scar
the earth and destroy the natural beauty of         By Christopher de Gruben
Mongolia. Even responsible mining will leave        http://www.mad-mongolia.com




June, 2011                                                             — 50 —
                         DESTINATION   m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d


     ulAAnBAAtAr:              Like nearly one half of the Mongolian popu-
                               lation, the capital city of ulaanbaatar is a
                               nomad. The city has changed locations more

 tents And sKyscrApers
                               than twenty times over the past 350 years
                               before taking root in its current location in
                               a sweeping valley bounded by four sacred
                               peaks, including the Bogd khan mountain in
                               the south.
                                 Besides its location the capital has also
                               changed its names several times over the
                               years, having been called urguu from 1639
                               to 1706, ih Huree from 1706 to 1911, Niislel
                               Huree from 1911 to 1923, and finally ulaan-
                               baatar since 1924 (meaning “Red Hero”). But
                               despite its many transformations, Mongolia’s
                               capital has remained constant as the political,
                               economic, and cultural center of the nation,
                               and as a city rich in both character and con-
                               trast. indeed there aren’t many world capitals
                               in which you can ride a horse, visit a nomadic
                               family, and enjoy fine dining and luxurious spa
                               treatments all in the same day.
                                 ulaanbaatar today is a vibrant city of more
                               than one million residents. The city reflects a
                               close and sometimes amusing juxtaposition of
                               nomadic traditions and modern society, per-
                               haps best summarized by its skyline dotted with
                               both gers (felt tents) and towering skyscrapers.
                               The city’s contrast can also be found among
                               those who call it home, from traditional-cloth-
                               ing-clad herders, to Armani-suit-wearing busi-
                               ness men and women, to a growing number of
                               ex-patriots hailing from nearly every corner of
                               the globe. Only in ulaanbaatar you can find a
                               horse cart bouncing down the central avenue
                               alongside a Mercedes Benz, or a market selling
                               both livestock and designer clothing. in short,

June, 2011      — 51 —
                                                                                             DESTINATION    m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d



                                                                                                        Take the chance to
                                                                                                          welcome new
                                                                                                        Russian travellers




there is something for everyone, and always a        American, and Mongolian cuisine, to name but       Join My Planet Travel Awards
site to behold in ulaanbaatar.                       a few.                                             www.myplanetawards.com
  if cities have a heart, and they certainly do,       Besides serving as the jumping off point for
then the heart of ulaanbaatar is Sukhbaatar          all travel throughout the country, ulaanbaatar       Moscow September 2011
Square. This sprawling plaza situated in front       has much to offer its visitors. The city’s eight
of the capital building, is the place where          museums are bursting at the seams with trea-       International travel awards voted for exclusively
                                                                                                             by the Russian public and organised in
residents and visitors gather for celebrations,      sures such as 3,000 year old Hunnu artifacts,         partnership with Moya Planeta TV, Russia’s
exhibitions, and concerts, or just for a leisurely   prehistoric dinosaur bones, and genghis khan-           leading travel and leisure network. The
stroll with friends. Running along the southern      era armor and weapons. Dozens of cultural           Awards offer participating companies a unique
                                                                                                            opportunity to reach millions of Russian
edge of the square is Enkh Taivny Orgon Choloo       venues throughout the city present daily per-         consumers directly, as well as hundreds of
(Peace Avenue), ulaanbaatar’s main thorough-         formances of dance, theatre, music, and con-                  potential industry partners.
fare, which spans from East to West across the       tortionism. The city is also home to one of the
city. On Peace Avenue, you’ll find a myriad of       world’s largest open air markets, Narantuul,                       Supported by
shopping hotspots, selling everything from           with more than 2500 vendors selling every-
cashmere, to antiques and souvenirs, to high         thing under the sun.
fashion couture. You’ll also find a surprising
variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes, serving
                                                                                                                        Media partners
up italian, French, korean, Chinese, Turkish,        http://www.mongoliatourism.gov.mn




June, 2011                                                             — 52 —
                                                               DESTINATION   m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d


    tourism in mongoliA: getting reAdy
                for visitors
Mongolia boasts of being the last and the least
traveled tourist destination in the world. As
the old saying goes ‘the best is kept to last’ – in
1991 after being hidden behind the commu-
nist iron curtain for seven decades, Mongolia
opened up for adventurers and travelers. Many
dreamed for years to visit the steppes where
the great genghis khan was born and ruled the
world. These dreams came true. Today, there
are approximately one million nomads living in
centuries old yurts, herding their livestock and
fighting one of the world’s most extreme tem-
peratures. Mongolia is rightly called ‘the lost
country’ still relatively unknown to vast major-
ity of tourists around the world.
  Tourism in Mongolia is relatively new com-
pared to the rest of Asia and the world. You will
not find well developed infrastructure, highly
organized tours, neatly preserved tourist sights,
and attractions in Mongolia. But these disad-
vantages are attracting the global nomads.
up until now, Mongolian tour operators were
offering almost identical tours in a handful of
tourist destinations in the country. The services
also had little difference but the price range
was noticeable. Due to small window of tour-
ist season, the tourist companies were literally
bidding for their clientele. The old systems were
still strong with the same old leaders, thus, the
old business environment left no chance for
average tourist businesses to survive.

June, 2011                                            — 53 —
                                                                                            DESTINATION        m ongol i a : goi ng h ot a nd col d

                                                                                                          The last trend is the significant shift of the
                                                                                                       use of social media marketing as opposed to
                                                                                                       traditional websites. Without exceptions the
                                                                                                       majority of tourist related companies have
                                                                                                       glowing flashy websites with zero to minimal
                                                                                                       traffic. However, some companies sensed the
                                                                                                       global trend in social media marketing on time,
                                                                                                       if not too late.
                                                                                                          So if you are planning to visit Mongolia, look
                                                                                                       for companies that provide services that you
                                                                                                       are interested in. if you are a true adventurer,
                                                                                                       the well known Mongol Rally is a must-see
                                                                                                       attraction. Mongolia provides a wide range of
                                                                                                       sights for naturalists. Search Facebook, Twitter
                                                                                                       for your niche.
                                                                                                          Today’s tourists can explore the country
                                                                                                       under much better conditions than the early
  However, there are good signs and stats that     one in the industry understands that we all         visitors. Things change and they do change fast
show the growth of tourism in Mongolia. The        together can succeed.                               in Mongolia. And if you already experienced
biggest trend is the collaboration between the       There is a growing trend of specialization or     Mongolia in person, please, help spread the
government and private sectors. Though the         niche products within the tourism sector. The       word out in your spheres of influence and cir-
socio-economic and political systems of the        growing numbers of companies specialize in          cles of friends. Help us to make Mongolia bet-
country are still in transition stage, the gov-    their own fields such as cultural events, adven-    ter and brighter.
ernment started supporting tourism in macro        tures trips, fishing, hunting etc. As the tourism
levels, providing the same opportunities to all,   develops, there will be more and more diver-
promoting better business environment and          sification in products, all working toward the      By Tsogt-Erdene Khorloo
cooperation versus competition. Finally, every-    same goal.                                          http://www.mongolia-attractions.com




June, 2011                                                            — 54 —

				
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Description: Mongolia – known for its vast plains, Nomads and cheerful feasts. Discover the country that is opening up to the global tourist offering pristine nature, rocky mountains as well as tours through the modern capital Ulaanbaatar.