Attracting Chinese tourists to visit the central Mongolian province of Uvurkhangai is one of the top tasks for the province’s tourism sector, a local official said on Tuesday.

“Attracting a large number of Chinese tourists is one of the priorities of our province’s tourism sector and is a great way to boost the province’s economic development,” Tumurbat Ariunbold, head of the province’s tourism department, told Xinhua during a Chinese-Mongolian tourism forum.

The forum on Tuesday was held in Khujirt soum, Uvurkhangai province as part of a three-day Chinese culture and tourism festival, which is co-organised by the provincial governor’s office, the Chinese Embassy in Mongolia, and the Chinese Cultural Center in Ulan Bator.

The festival starting on Monday aims to further expand cultural and tourism exchanges between the two countries and provide Mongolians with a better understanding of China, the organisers said.

“We all know that China has been the world’s biggest source of tourists. There is a big advantage of Mongolia to attract more tourists from China,” Ariunbold said, referring to Mongolia’s geographic location.

In recent years, Uvurkhangai province has been striving to attract more foreign tourists by organising various historical and cultural events, such as the “Silk Road and Kharkhorin” in the Kharkhorin soum, he said.

The province has more than 50,000 foreign tourists a year and Chinese tourists make up over 30 percent of them, Ariunbold said.

“Hosting 100,000 foreign tourists a year is our province’s medium-term goal,” Ariunbold said, noting that to reach the goal, Uvurkhangai province has been stepping up its efforts to expand tourism cooperation with China.