More government support, in terms of marketing the country’s many draws and creation of more flight connections around the world, is needed to help grow Mongolia’s tourism industry, say tourism players interviewed at ITB Berlin.
“Not many people know about Mongolia. We do not have an organisation that helps us to market the country, such as what the Maldives – which has a marketing and PR agency – is doing. I think the government should invest in (creating) a marketing department for tourism,” opined Zundui Odbaya, CEO of Mongolian Tourism Company.
He added: “I also want to invite younger travellers to visit Mongolia and see what life is like here. One reason why we are exhibiting (as a standalone booth) is because we are advertising more extreme activities such as motorbike tours, horseback riding tours, and ATVs. We want to bring down the average age of travellers choosing Mongolia for their trips.”
For Mongolian Tourism Company, 80 per cent of their clients come from Asia, a result of working with DMCs and travel agents in their respective countries. Interestingly, Vietnamese travellers are one of their top inbound markets, the result of five-times-weekly chartered flights to Vietnam.
Similarly, Buyanzaya Eldevdorj, sales manager, Juulchin World Tours, agreed that “more can be done” by the government for the tourism industry. For instance, the connectivity to Mongolia can be improved. She said: “Without flights, we cannot welcome tourists from other countries, so more airlines flying to Mongolia would be good.”
When asked what was Mongolia’s main draw, Eldevdorj shared: “My country offers untouched nature, vast landscapes, and traditional festivals that you’ll only experience here, like the Naadam Festival.”
Held throughout the country during midsummer, Naadam is where locals take part in games such as Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Some of Juulchin World Tours’ itineraries are built around this festival to allow tourists a chance to peek into the local’s nomadic lifestyle.
Traditionally, the company hosts more European tourists from countries like Germany, Italy, Finland and Norway, although there are groups from South Korea, Japan, and Singapore visiting as well.
Batsuuri Zolboo, international affairs manager, Mongolian Tourism Company, also highlighted the country’s vastness as one of its unique selling points.
“Mongolia has 1.6 million square kilometres, but we only have 3.4 million people. There’s plenty of space for tourists to explore” he said.
When asked why there weren’t many chartered flights to Singapore, considering that Singaporeans travel a lot and are constantly on the lookout for new destinations, Odbayar shared: “We are looking for partners with big pockets in Singapore, as starting charter flights is a costly and risky venture. But with direct flights, we can definitely make it easier for Singaporean travellers to visit.”