Monday, 21 October 2013 14:33

Number of foreign tourists drop in 2013

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Mongolia_tourismAccording to the preliminary data by the National Statistics Office, the number of tourists fell by 12.1% compared to previous year. As of September, 2013 the number of foreign visitors Mongolia reached only 333,000 compared to previous year's 475,000.

This number is slightly affected by the decreased number of visitors from China (most of whom, in fact, usually come on tourist visa to stay in Mongolia and work illegally). However, according to a survey conducted this summer by the Ulaanbaatar tourism department, there are many other factors including the increased cost of transfer flights and the negative perception of surrounding environment.

Overally, the number of tourists coming from Germany, Japan, Korea and Kazakhstan has increased while the number of tourists from the US and Australia dropped. Although the majority of foreign tourists come during warmer summer period, recently a slight surge in number of visitors during shoulder and winter periods was registered. In early 2013, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Mongolia created and published Calendar of Events not only to attract tourists during a peak season but also for shoulder and winter seasons as well as to increase the range of travel products offered in order to enrich the experience for tourists. Mongolian airline companies also have opened two new direct routes from Hong Kong and Bangkok in last three years.

Both public and private organizations point at the lack of policy and marketing plan in tourism sector in last few years and are seeking for new products and promotional ways. Some experts also criticize that Mongolia’s statistical method of counting tourists is incorrect and outdated because it classifies anyone “who is visiting Mongolia for more than 24 hours but less than 183 days for the purpose other than employment and receipt of salary and wage” as tourist.