Tourism in the Year of the Virus

The tourism sector which is critically important for the Mongolian economy has been suffering enormously from the impacts of the  coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 9000 people globally. Revenue of world tourism has suffered loss of USD 30-50 billion in three months of 2020; the most affected countries are in the Asia and Pacific regions.

According to custom statistics, Mongolia received a total of 32,961 foreign arrivals before the country fully closed its borders in March with Russia and China as well all suspended all flights. This represents a decrease of 21 percent on the same period in 2019. Before the lockdown, the number of tourists arriving in Mongolia from South Korea, Japan, the USA, Turkey, Germany and Australia has fallen by 57 percent. The number of tourists is likely to be low due to global travel bans and custom restrictions.

After revenue from mining exports, tourism is a key sector. Tourism contributed a total of MNT 1.6 trillion (over USD 607 million) to the State Budget of Mongolia in 2019. However, tourism revenue decreased by USD 11.7 million or 28 percent in the two months of 2020 on the same period in the previous year.

According to a survey on satisfaction and spending among tourists, 94 percent of participants answered that their trip to Mongolia had been good value for money.  The Mongolian Government, optimistically, aims to increase the number of foreign arrivals by 40 percent in 2020.

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