Mongolia saw a tourism boom with over 500,000 visitors during the first three quarters, marking a 134 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the National Statistics Office. The surge in visitors has been driven by a combination of ambitious government efforts and international events.
Mongolia’s government declared 2023 and 2024 as the years to visit the nation, promoting the welcoming theme “Welcome to Mongolia.” In recent months, the country has hosted major investment forums and summits, attracting thousands of foreigners. Notable events included the “Mongolian Economic Forum,” which saw participation from influential business leaders and government officials worldwide. Additionally, in August, Mongolia hosted the “Nas Summit” conference, with renowned content creators from nine countries who have millions of followers across social media platforms. This event was co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, aimed at boosting the nation’s travel industry.
Despite these impressive gains, the government of Mongolia has set an ambitious goal of attracting one million tourists in a year. To achieve this goal by the end of 2023, the nation would need to entice approximately 500,000 more foreign visitors in the final three months of the year. However, this challenge is compounded by the fact that November and December are among Mongolia’s coldest months, making it a considerable endeavor.
Moreover, amidst the tourism achievements, Mongolia faces a different challenge — the “Brain Drain” phenomenon. Highly qualified individuals are leaving their home region or country in pursuit of better career prospects. In 2022, Mongolia’s Brain Drain rating, which measures the outward migration of citizens, stood at 4.3 out of 10, according to statistics from www.TheGlobalEconomy.com. This rating has been on a steady rise for seven consecutive years since 2017. In the first nine months of 2023, the National Statistics Office’s recent data shows that 475,900 Mongolian citizens traveled abroad for various reasons, including employment, study, and permanent residence. This figure represents a 3.2-fold increase compared to the previous year.
As Mongolia’s tourism industry continues to thrive, it grapples with the challenge of reconciling these outward migration trends. The government’s enthusiasm and innovative events have driven substantial growth in tourism, yet the quest to reach one million tourists in the near future remains a formidable endeavor. Balancing the need to retain highly skilled individuals while attracting tourists is a key task for the nation’s policymakers. Both the triumphs and challenges of these trends are being closely observed as Mongolia charts its course forward.