Overall Mongolia is ranked 99th out of 140 countries with a score of 3.63 in a scale of 1-7 in 2013 report. Two years ago the rank was 101st. Switzerland is ranked first with an index (TTCI) of 5.66, followed by Germany, Austria, Spain, UK, US, France, Canada, Sweden, Singapore in the top ten.
(see for more: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TT_Competitiveness_Report_2013.pdf)
The following key elements were used to determine the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) for each country:
- Policy rules and regulations
- Environmental sustainability
- Safety and security
- Health and hygiene
- Prioritization of travel and tourism
- Air transport infrastructure
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Tourism infrastructure
- ICT infrastructure
- Price competitiveness in the travel and tourism industry
- Human resources
- Affinity for travel and tourism
- Natural resources
- Cultural resources
In the category called "Affinity for travel and tourism" there are 4 subdivisions like "Tourism openness", "Attitude of population toward foreign visitors", "Extension of business trips recommended" and "Degree of customer orientation". One of them, the most interesting one maybe, is the "Attitude of population toward foreign visitors" and shockingly and to my great surprise, Mongolia "qualified" as one of the worst country to visit. Or to be exact, Mongolians are the most unfriendliest nation among the 140 countries taken into examination. Check below:
Attitude of population toward foreign visitors:
(How welcome are foreign visitors to your country?)
(Scale: 1= very unwelcome, 7= very welcome)
Countries with good attitude
1. Iceland 6.8
2. New Zealand 6.8
3. Morocco 6.7
4. Macedonia 6.7
5. Austria 6.7
6. Senegal 6.7
7. Portugal 6.6
8. Bosnia and Herzegovina 6.6
9. Ireland 6.6
10. Burkina Faso 6.6
Countries with bad attitude
1. Bolivia 4.1
2. Venezuela 4.5
3. Russian Federation 5.0
4. Kuwait 5.2
5. Latvia 5.2
6. Iran 5.2
7. Pakistan 5.3
8. Slovak Republic 5.5
9. Bulgaria 5.5
10. Mongolia 5.5
What a disgrace! Born to be a Mongol and raised as a Mongol, I know enough how we Mongols behave toward "strangers". As matter of fact, Mongols are well-known for their hospitality and friendliness toward strangers no matter whether it is an own country man or a foreigner. Food and drinks are offered, at no cost, and locals would help any way they can without demanding something in return. Countryside is the only place foreign tourists would go because of the wild nature and unique nomadic culture, so foreigners would mostly get in contact with local population during their traveling. Tourists wouldn't stay in the cities since there are not much to see except some museums but in cities foreign visitors are safe and welcomed too. On a very rare occasion one might hear that a foreigner (who may live and work in city) would robbed while walking late night alone and some poor or drunk person was to blame. Tourists never go alone at late night. Other than that Mongolia is a trouble-free country to visit.
I wonder where the authors of this report, put out by the WEF , got the idea to classify Mongolia as the unfriendliest country to visit. There must be real bad experiences and facts related to foreign tourists who visited Mongolia in the past to prove that they were treated so badly, but I haven't heard anything of that nature by myself. So how come Mongolia ended up being among the last countries on the list? Based on what?!
Yeah, yeah, we are far away from being "Switzerland-type" country where everything is so perfect. So I don't argue with all other outcomes (remember the 14 categories?) in different areas and the overall score (3.63) and the ranking (99th) "pinned" on us because I know that lot of things need to be improved, beginning with air and ground transportation, tourism infrastructure etc. But I am talking about our attitude toward foreign people and the fact being declared as the one with bad attitude. That hurts.
By the way, I want also point out that Mongolia is not a travel destination for people who would prefer fancy and luxury tour with everything imaginable on hand, if that was the main reason to "punish" Mongolia. It could be. Tourists who got used to have everything handy when they needed and that wasn't the case when they came to Mongolia, and that is when they start complaining. That is my guess. I couldn't think of any other reason to call us as the bad ones.
For those who choose to visit us, I say again that Mongolia is a spot for those who like adventure, and would not fear any "outdoor-challenge" and "roughness". It is not a place to visit for "soft" people. Having said that, I am afraid that this challenging and "raw" conditions should stay intact because that is the magnet to attract people who are "tired" of "robotic" city-life and wanted to be "out" even for a couple of weeks.
Anyway, the question was whether or not Mongols were friendly toward foreign visitors and the answer to this question was way too wrong and misleading! It is up to our readers whom to believe, us or WEF, but my advice is to make as many researches as possible, like questioning people visited Mongolia in the past and/or reading any available information online related to this matter , and make own decision based on information collected.
It was not my intention to "mess" with WEF, but, hey, this report was made by humans who could make mistakes because of the false information they got from somewhere, somehow and this is not unusual. So I try to correct this mistake "my way" to lessen the bad consequences coming from this report, in particular from this classification, declaring Mongolia as one of the "hostile nations" to foreign tourists.
There is a saying, "Seeing just ones by own eyes is better than hearing thousand times", and if you are not so "fragile" and love "outdoor activities", you are welcomed to visit Mongolia and experience our hospitality and friendship while enjoying the wild nature. "Go nomadic. Experience Mongolia" is our slogan for advertising Mongolia's tourism, so come and visit us!