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 communist 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 temperatures. Mongolia is rightly called ‘the lost country’ still relatively unknown to vast majority of tourists around the world.
Tourism in Mongolia is relatively new compared 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 disadvantages 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 tourist 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.
However, there are good signs and stats that show the growth of tourism in Mongolia. The biggest trend is the collaboration between the government and private sectors. Though the socio-economic and political systems of the country are still in transition stage, the government started supporting tourism in macro levels, providing the same opportunities to all, promoting better business environment and cooperation versus competition. Finally, everyone in the industry understands that we all together can succeed.
There is a growing trend of specialization or niche products within the tourism sector. The growing numbers of companies specialize in their own fields such as cultural events, adventures trips, fishing, hunting etc. As the tourism develops, there will be more and more diversification in products, all working toward the same goal.
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 visitors. Things change and they do change fast in Mongolia. And if you already experienced Mongolia in person, please, help spread the word out in your spheres of influence and circles of friends. Help us to make Mongolia better and brighter.
By Tsogt-Erdene Khorloo