(SANTA FE): Xola Consulting has completed an adventure tourism development proposal for Mongolia’s Western aimags (akin to provinces or states) in support of the Mongolian tourism industry’s efforts to develop adventure travel products for the region. The comprehensive plan specifies five destinations with the greatest adventure tourism potential and offers recommendations to Mongolian tourism industry stakeholders (government, private sector, etc.) to develop and promotie these packages to U.S. and European travelers. The report also identifies opportunities for further tourism planning and training initiatives to facilitate development of tourism in the region.
For the past decade, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped strengthen Mongolia’s tourism policies and laws, and broaden market awareness of tourism opportunities in Mongolia. The targeting of the five Western aimags for tourism development aims to help address national objectives for improving rural livelihoods and economies, and protecting precious natural and cultural landscapes.
The Mongolian tourism industry recognizes that the character of the Western aimags – a remote, culturally rich, and environmentally vibrant region – makes the country an attractive destination for adventure travelers. Developed in a sustainable manner and with the participation of the local communities, adventure tourism can positively benefit the livelihoods and economy of the people in Western Mongolia.
In July and August 2008, Xola Consulting working under the auspices of the USAID funded Economic Policy Reform and Competitiveness project (EPRC) collaborated with EPRC and the Mongolia National Tourism Organization (MNTO) to identify five Adventure Tourism Hotspot destinations: Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, Khar Nuur, Eej Khairkhan Uul, Tsenkheriin Agui, and Khyargus Nuur. These Hotspots were selected for their compelling mix of natural, cultural, and adventure sporting resources. Additionally, these Hotspots were found to have adequate levels of infrastructure and community support for tourism development.
The EPRC sponsored team led by Xola proposed detailed adventure tourism itineraries and marketing themes for each area along with specific strategies for promoting the product to identified target audiences. Each itinerary was designed with flexibility in mind to allow for product customization by individual tour operators within each destination. The team also recommended that Western Mongolia implement an over-arching branding and positioning strategy to help the region separate itself from its competitors and highlight its distinctive characteristics.
The adventure tourism proposal and its recommendations will be incorporated into the Mid-term Strategy for Tourism Development 2007-2011 developed by key Mongolian tourism industry stakeholders.
Xola Consulting, Inc. provides consulting services to individual adventure tour company operators and tourism boards interested in adventure tourism development for the benefit of rural communities and the environment. Xola also specializes in supporting organizations seeking to blend adventure tourism and volunteer service. Xola consultants have in-depth experience in emerging markets around the world including Central and South America, North Africa and Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), India and Nepal.
In 2005, Xola launched Off the Radar to bring passionate, independent travelers reliable information about entrepreneurial adventure companies around the world – those who provide guests with a genuine, personal experience; who believe in sustainable, environmentally sensitive travel; and who believe in incorporating the local people and traditions of the places where they operate.