Inner Mongolia


Summary The overall aim of this report is to investigate how the physical geography (location, climate, biosphere and landscape) and human geography (cultural, transportation, economic, political and urban development) of Inner Mongolia affect its tourism industry. Our objectives are divided into three parts. First, we are going to see whether the local government is confident to develop its tourism or not. Second, we want to find the strengths and weaknesses of Inner Mongolia’s tourism development. Third, we want to know how the local government ameliorates its weaknesses or how it reverses the disadvantages to advantages.

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After our investigation, we found that the Inner Mongolia government is very confident to develop its tourism. It has some strengths like on the physical geography side, it has locational advantage and generous fauna and flora in biosphere; on the human geography side, it has its unique traditional culture, the well-developed transportation network, the thriving and robust economic development and modern urban development with cultural heritages. However, there are also some weaknesses, for instance, the unfavorable climatic conditions and plateau landscape on physical geography side; the political factor on human geography side.The local government has done a lot to ameliorate its weaknesses say it not only introduces grassland tourism but also cultural and heritage, leisure, and eco tourism to attract different type of tourists.

To sum up, although there are physical as well as human hindrances affecting Inner Mongolia’s tourism development, the local government knows how to better utilize its own ups and improve its downs. Therefore we can foresee that there is a bright future of Inner Mongolia’s tourism development. 2. Introduction Inner Mongolia, which was established in 1947, is an autonomous region of China.

It locates in the northern region of the country and shares an international border with Russian Federation and Mongolia. Its capital is Hohhot and the largest city is Baotau. The region has a population of about 24 million. The majority are Han Chinese with a substantial Mongol minority. Since the Open Door Policy was launched in 1978, the tourism development in Inner Mongolia has progressively increased.

In 2002, the total number of inbound and outbound tourists was first made a breakthrough to over 10 million.In 2009, total number of tourists reached over 40 million. It proves that how vigorous and flourishing the tourism development in Inner Mongolia these years. Apart from the traditional grassland tourism, the local government nowadays is endeavoring to develop cultural and heritage, leisure, and eco tourism. It hopes these four combined tourisms can bring more benefits for the local tourism development. The reason why we investigate this region because we want to break people’s misconception of Inner Mongolia is a laggard region without well tourism development.In the following, we want to tell the readers how vigorous the region is and will be. We hope people to know deeply about this region.

3. Main body/Findings Physical geography a) Location Inner Mongolia is a large autonomous region located at the North of China, across the Northeast, North and Northwest China. It is near the eight neighboring provinces including Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu. Also it is proximate to Beijing and Tianjin. Most of its international border is with Mongolia while a small portion is with Russia.

It has 18 border crossings, among them the largest land border crossing in mainland China is ManZhouLi Ports. Besides Erenhot is Mongolia’s largest border crossing. As the above shows that Inner Mongolia is located at the border area of Mongolia, Russia and China, this locational advantage helps its tourism development. It on the one hand attracts foreign tourists like Mongolians and Russians; on the other hand, domestic tourists mainly from the northeast, north and northwest china are also having a visit there. Thus, it becomes a popular tourism destination. ) Climate Climate in Inner Mongolia is very different throughout the year. It has a dominantly temperate continental monsoon climate. The climate changes from arid to semi-humid from west to east, and to humid in the northeast.

There are Yin Mountains and Greater Khingan Mountains act as natural boundary line to separate northeastern and southwestern regions’ climate. The annual solar radiation increases from northeast to southwest. However the annual rainfall decreases from northeast to southwest. The annual rainfall of the whole region is between100 -500 mm.Besides, the diurnal temperature range is very large, around 12-16?. Generally speaking, Inner Mongolia has quick, warm and dry springtime with strong wind; a short, warm to hot summer; a short, cool to cold autumn and a long, cold and dry winter with frequent blizzards.

The best travelling seasons (the peak season) to Inner Mongolia are in summer and autumn. Tourists can enjoy the fabulous scenery in the green prairie. However, these two seasons just last for a short period of time, let say from June to September.

This hinders its tourism development and affects its tourism income.Although the winter and spring time are long, during these two seasons there are frequent blizzards and strong winds. This is unfavorable for developing grassland tourism.

To tackle this problem, the local government then launched industrial, cultural and heritage tourism which with no climatic hindrance. c) Biosphere (fauna ;amp; flora) For the fauna, there are total 117 species of animals. 49 species are listed as being protected. Mongolian wild donkeys and wild camels are the world’s most rare mammals. Reindeer are only found in there. Besides, there are millions of cows and sheep.For the flora, more than 2,351 kinds of various plants can be found there. The vegetation area is large, mainly the grassland.

Also, the total forest area of Inner Mongolia is about 14million hectares, occupied 11% of the country’s total forest area, listed as the second in the country. As the biosphere is plentiful, it attracts many tourists. For instance, the large area of grassland fascinates numerous visitors. They want to taste the life in natural environment and live in a yurt. Therefore the local government emphasizes on grassland tourism and the journey launched must include living in a yurt to experience the locals iving style. d) Landscape (lands;amp; waters) Inner Mongolia plateau is China’s second-largest in the four highland plateaus. In the region, nearly 50% land areas are plateaus. Most of them are over 1000 meters above sea level.

The most famous plateaus are Hulunbuir Plateau, Ordos Plateau and Alxa Plateau. In addition to plateau, there are mountains (e. g. Greater Khingan Mountains and Yin Mountains), deserts (e. g.

Ordos Desert), thousands of lakes( e. g. Hulunbuir Lake, Chefeng Lake, Khingan League Lake) and thousands of rivers(e. . Huang He, Wulisha River, Dong River).

As the landforms of Inner Mongolia are mainly plateau, it hinders the tourism development because lots of tourists cannot adapt to the plateau environment. Most of them are afraid of getting Altitude sickness. Thus visitors have low willingness to travel there. On the other hand, although the water resources are abundant, the desertification problem becomes more serious these years.

Many rivers have dried up. This affects the local lives and local tourism development because lots of industries and facilities need water.Human geography a) Culture (festivals/cuisines) There are two main focuses for the culture sector of Inner Mongolia. They are festivals and cuisines. Inner Mongolia is a region that full of distinctive national features. There are over 100 festivals and activities.

For example, the international pasture culture festival, Mongol costume and art festival, Ordos Genghis Khan Cultural Tourism Week, Wuhai grape Festival, etc. They now also focus on some festivals in winter such as HuLunBier Snow and Ice Festival and some activities related to snow and ice.Before they try to promote festivals, the tourist peak season is just during June to September while after they promote festivals, the peak season is lengthened to May to October because tourist may visit there in a particular month to join some special festivals. In addition, since they now also try to promote festivals in winter, they can then break the limitation of climate, which is a long cold winter, and attract visitors in low season. For cuisines, when talking about the most famous cuisine of Inner Mongolia, barbeque roast whole lamb may come to you first.

Other than this, there are still some characteristic cuisines which cannot be found or have different flavour from other region say horse milk wine, camel palm, Inner Mongolia cheese and fried grain. We may had heard about these traditional cuisines of Inner Mongolia but have less or even no chance to try them because they cannot be easily found in other countries. Therefore, although only cuisines alone are hard to attract tourists to visit Inner Mongolia, these can be one of the attractive factors so that increasing the chance of taking it into consideration as a travel destination. ) Transportation There are mainly two ways to travel to Inner Mongolia. The first one is by air transportation and the second one is by train. There are large scale airports in some prosperous cities in Inner Mongolia including the capital city Hohhot and Baotou. It only takes 2 hours to travel from Beijing to Hohhot. There is direct flight from Seoul; however, the international air routes are less as there is no direct flight from Taiwan or Japan.

This situation may limit the number of national inbound tourists. For the train, the terminals are almost within China.The departure place can be Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Hangchow, Guangzhou etc. During the travel peak season, it is hard to buy a ticket so booking in advance is better. Travelling to Inner Mongolia by train may mainly use by Chinese. The convenience of the trains may encourage domestic tourist travel to there.

For the transportation in Inner Mongolia, the backbones are bus and taxi. If the visitors travel within relatively bigger cities, buses can bring them to most of the places. Taxi is also a good choice for visitors as they can go to the hotel or attractions directly.The comprehensive transportation system can eliminate the worries of visitors about hard to travel freely.

c) Economy The economy of Inner Mongolia is fast developing. In the recent years, Inner Mongolia has a brilliant economic growth. It has already been the fastest economic growth region in China for a few consecutive years. It is also the top one that has largest economic increasing range in China from 2001 to economy, it can attract foreign companies to invest in different sectors which including tourism industry.For example, some Singaporean companies see Inner Mongolia as a potential market so they invest on hotels. They cooperate to promote tourism as this can help building up the reputation of Inner Mongolia and then they can gain more profit from it. At the same time, it can enjoy the benefits brought from the foreign companies as they help to boost up the standard of leisure goods and to develop tourism.

This is a cycle that a brilliant result in economy can attract investment, and then the investments encourage the tourism industry. Lastly, tourism brings more profits for Inner Mongolia. ) Political It is commonly know that if a region that is political unstable, this will affect the intention of tourists to visit that region. It takes a long time to build up one’s image but the image can be destroyed easily by even one incident only. In May of 2011, there is a more than ten days large scale protests in Inner Mongolia.

Chinese Communist Party dispatched a large number of armed forces in the major cities, block streets and intensify Internet censorship. Two thousands armed police were dispatched to block the university district.Armed police appeared in Hohhot in order to block some major squares such as Xinhua Square and Genghis Khan Square.

This incident shows the political instability of Inner Mongolia. This not only discourages visitors to go during that period of time, but also gives a bad impression to people and affect them to choose it as a travel destination. However, fortunately, this kind of big scale protests are not always happened in Inner Mongolia. As disturbance does not keep happening, the local government then has time to recover and build up their image again. As time flies, the scandal fades from visitors’ memory.People may consider visiting Inner Mongolia again. So Inner Mongolia can still keep on developing tourism industry.

e) Urban development There are many famous cultural heritages can be found in Inner Mongolia, for example, the mausoleum of Genghis(????? ), Zhaojun tomb (??? ), Xiretu Ju (??? ), etc. Moreover, lots of hotels are built in major cities like Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos, Hulunbuir. Cultural heritages attract thousands of tourists every year, especially for domestic tourists. The well-developed accommodation facilities like hotels and motels are also favorable for tourism development.

4.Recommendations Although the local government can effectively utilize its physical and human advantages to develop its tourism and also improve its weaknesses, there are still some areas need to further improve. Let say the desertification problem in Inner Mongolia is getting worsen these years, the government needs to intensify the protection of its green area, like enlarge its afforestation area, reinforce grain for green or grain for lake policy. Only by improving its natural environment can the place attract more tourists and keep on developing its tourism.

. Conclusion To conclude, we found that in Inner Mongolia, both the physical and human geography affect a lot on its tourism development. Although physical hindrances like the unfavorable climate and landscape obstruct its tourism development a lot, the local government knows how to use human power to reverse its downs to ups. Therefore we can see that the tourism development is keeping robust these years.

After launching more tourism development policies, we believe that the future of Inner Mongolia’s tourism will be brighter.

Author: Chris Wright


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