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Despite turmoil in the region, tourism in Morocco still thrives

May 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm

MOROCCO – Tuareg wait as they prepare to play desert hockey

The tourism industry in Morocco is still successful despite the turmoil in the region since 2011, reported on Friday. More than 10 million tourists visit the country every year, with Morocco being the least affected by the ongoing geopolitical changes in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region.

Moroccan Tourism Minister Mohamed Sajid expects a 5.5 per cent increase in the number of tourists visiting his country this year. That translates into 10.9 million people. The minister revealed earlier this year that the expected tourist revenue for the public sector in 2017 is $6.5 billion, compared to $6.4 billion last year.

Officials and local industry experts point to the relative safety and stability in Morocco, as well as to the diversity of tourist sites and an increase in the number of flights.

Travel agent Rida Nawali told Anadolu that stability and security is the main reason for the industry to continue to thrive. “Other reasons include more flight options and the increase of cultural, art and sport festivals,” he explained. “There has also been an increase in international conferences being held in Morocco, which helps our hotels and supports tourism.”

The Secretary of the National Federal of Tourism, Fawzi Zamrani, agreed with Nawali about the stability of Morocco being a major factor in attracting tourists. He noted that Tunisia, which is considered to be Morocco’s main competitor in the region, had been hit by several terrorist attacks that had negative effects on its attraction as a tourist destination.

Apart from promoting its infrastructure, including the transportation system and tourism sites, the government in Rabat has cancelled the requirement for Chinese citizens to obtain a tourist visa to visit Morocco. This had a significant effect on the number choosing to visit the country.

Around 5.4 million tourists visited Egypt last year; 6 million went to Tunisia; and 3 million visited Algeria. Mauretania, meanwhile, welcomed just 2 million.