ULAN BATOR, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of 38 million U.S. dollars on Tuesday to help Mongolia develop ecotourism, the bank said.
The lending marks ADB's first project loan designed to help Mongolia focus on tourism and the management of protected areas, such as the Khuvsgul Lake National Park and the Onon-Balj National Park.
The loan is expected to benefit around 11,000 residents, and improve local environmental conservation as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
"Tourism is the largest and fastest growing sector of the global economy, and Mongolia's magnificent landscapes and unique heritage can capitalize on this," said Mark Bezujien, a senior ADB environment specialist for East Asia.
"That said, ADB's support will help ensure that tourism growth in Mongolia benefits local residents and preserves fragile environments over the long term," Bezujien noted.
Mongolia has set a goal of welcoming 1 million foreign tourists and earning 1 billion U.S. dollars from tourism in 2020.
The Asian country attracted a total of 529,370 foreign tourists in 2018, up 11.01 percent from the previous year, according to the country's Environment and Tourism Ministry.