Period: March 2011
Funded by: Mercy Corps, Umnugobi Aimag Government
Project partners: Ministry Nature Environment Tourism Umnugobi, Amazing Gobi NGO
The Omnogobi economy will be transformed by the development of mining and associated infrastructure during the next decade.
In this competitive environment the Tourism Master Plan identifies opportunities for investment, gives guidelines for how tourism can protect the environment and supports the local economy and determines what actions are needed to develop a sustainable and competitive industry. The Tourism Master Plan presents a portfolio of specific projects, each with an estimated budget, which can be used to attract investment and support for the tourism sector. The Plan is ambitious and will require investment. However the levels of investment are small compared to the forecast growth in the regional economy.
This Master Plan considers the period 2011 to 2020. The pace of change in the Omnogobi economy is likely to be so rapid during this period that it is not possible to forecast the development of tourism beyond 2020.
· To develop a balance between existing markets and developing new market in cross-border tourism.
· To improve the quality of services provided to tourists so that they meet international standards.
· To increase the number of destinations able to receive tourists
· To contribute to protection and enhancement of natural environment
· To support livelihood of rural communities
· To conserve and promote Mongolian culture and history
· To establish innovative governance and funding for tourism development.
This Master Plan builds on the previous Master Plan 2007 – 2015. A steering committee of officers from the Development and Policy Department and Nature Environment and Tourism Department at Omnogobi aimag and the head of the Amazing Gobi NGO assisted with the research and development of recommendations.
The Tourism Master Plan follows guidelines and international best practice described by UNWTO.
Consultation is an essential part of the development of a Master Plan and should facilitate the implementation of its recommendations. Officials from the Ministry of Nature Environment and Tourism (MNET), soum governments, the Mongolian National Tourism Center (MNTC), Mongolian Tourism NGOs, International NGOs, Omnogobi Tour Camp owners and managers, Mongolian Tour operators and mining companies were interviewed. A workshop for stakeholders in the tourism sector was held in Dalanzadgad in April 2011.
The development and growth of markets will be supported by the establishment of a Gobi brand, the creation of a Gobi website and information for tourists. The successful development of cross-border tourism will require liaison with national and Chinese authorities and improvements to border-crossing.
Service standards need to be improved throughout the industry if Omnogobi is to develop as a competitive destination. It is proposed to establish tourism training institute in the aimag with links to Mongolian and international universities. Guidelines, local standards, and annual awards and will help raise standards and increase benefits to economy and environmental protection.
The tourism sector needs to develop the way in which businesses, national, aimag and soum governments and civil society organisations work together. An annual tourism forum with neighbouring aimags, an Omnogobi tourism forum and council and a review of tourism management in the aimag are proposed.