Toursim has always been an important part of the Mongolian economy. According to the Bank of Mongolia the average tourist spends USD 190 each day in the country. There is, however, huge room for improvement, not least in the capital Ulaanbaatar.
Ulaanbaatar has a MNT 3.6 billion budget for tourism in 2016. The City Administraton has set a target to increase tourist numbers by 10% (40,000 tourists). In 2015 the tourism budget was MNT 3.4 billion; the revenue generated by tourists visiting UB last year was MNT 20 billion. The 2016 action plan has a number of specific actions. These include – modernizing hotels and motels and organizing international conferences during the non-tourism seasons and encouraging the participants to experience what UB has to offer.
Last year, 385,000 tourists visited Mongolia. For 92% of them, the destination was the Mongolian countryside; Ulaanbaatar merely being the place they arrived at and left from. To attempt to alter this trend, the City Administration is implementing the “Hospitable Ulaanbaatar” program, with the aim of improving the money cycle from the sector. According to the program plan, the area around the Gandantegchinlen Monastery (Gandan), with its narrow winding streets, will become a dedicated culture and tourism district. Also, the “Khurel Togoot” astronomy center, near the city, with its clear skies and stars is planned to become a key UB tourist attraction.