I was talking about my latest trip and overheard someone utter that statement. An interesting thought even to Mongolians who now list tourism as their third most important industry after agriculture and mining. Most of these travelers are from China, Russia and Korea. They list the following reasons for visiting: to see the beautiful nature, partake in adventure travel, experience traditional culture and learn more about Genghis Khan.
Further research shows, however, that a majority of the visitors don’t venture out of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, and unfortunately with more pollution than Beijing and New Delhi!
In 1990 when the Soviets and Communism pulled out of the country the economic depression caused many people to move to the city. The country suffered greatly for the next ten years due to a deep recession and natural disasters. Reviving the economy is a top priority.
This modern city showcases their country’s rich heritage in its many museums and sculptures but one would have to travel far and wide in order to understand their nomadic history. What I saw are many four-star hotels, an abundance of karaoke bars ( apparently not so popular anymore), and an abundance of coffee shops also serving wine or cocktails!
Cities are like shopping malls….a similarity you feel no matter where in the world you are. I wish I had visited the Gobi desert or ridden a horse.