ADB Promotes Community-Based Ecotourism in Mongolia

Video | 27 January 2020

Khuvsgul Lake in Northern Mongolia is a major tourism site.

ADB, with a $3 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, is working to make sure tourism benefits the local and does not damage the environment.

Tourism makes up 12% of the country’s economy and is growing rapidly. Fostering sustainable tourism is vital for Mongolia’s long-term development.

Transcript

Mongolia. Here traditional nomadic life continues amid magnificent nature. Tourism makes up 12% of the economy and is growing rapidly. Fostering sustainable tourism is vital for diversified, long-term development.

Khuvsgul Lake in Northern Mongolia is a major tourism site. It is known as “the blue pearl”. It is part of a precious and fragile ecosystem.

Tourists come to the lake and its national park for trekking, kayaking, and fishing. In 2018, over 101,000 people visited, up from 11,000 in 2010.

“The number of tourists visiting Khuvsgul province has increased in recent years. 70% of residents in Khatgal village benefit from tourism one way or another. So, the upside of the rise in tourism is the increased household income. But the drawback is tourists’ improper use of lake water,” says Tsenddavaa Nasanjargal, President of Khatgal Tourism Association.

ADB, with a $3 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, is working to make sure local people benefit from tourism and to prevent damage to the lake and grasslands.

The project promotes community-based ecotourism. Residents, tour operators, and local government work hand in hand.

Small loans have helped locals set up or expand businesses.

“I used to earn MNT2-3 million ($800-$1,100) annually at best. After receiving a loan and attending training, I increased milk production and the number of products I make and improved the product packaging. My annual income has increased to MNT10 million ($3,800),” Naranchimeg Khorolsuren,

Herder and small business owner.

Herder groups coordinate grazing to prevent overuse of the delicate grasslands.

“Our group is fencing off the pastureland to reserve it for winter and spring. As we are preserving the land when the grass is growing, the pastureland is enriched with more plant varieties,” explains Enkhbaatar Khajid, Leader of Herder Group in Alag-Erdene district.

Waste management groups collect garbage, check water quality, and maintain 50 new all-weather eco-toilets.

“The dumps around here are being cleaned up. Now, new waste containers are located here to take garbage,” Sainbayar Jamsran, Leader of Herder Group in Khatgal village.

The Mongolian government and ADB, through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, and the communities of Khuvsgul are working together to ensure that tourism is sustainable, so that the blue pearl of Mongolia can be enjoyed for generations.