In Morocco an inventory full of hope

In Morocco, tourism is an essential source of foreign currency, involves considerable capital investment, generates substantial income and creates important jobs. This strategic sector has, since Independence, undeniably accompanied the economic development of the country.

Manhandled and put in difficulty for the past two years when he experienced his worst crisis, Dame Covid having been there, he had, as the popular expression would say, hit rock bottom. Indeed, after a record 13 million tourists recorded in 2019, arrivals had fallen by 71% in 2021, leading to the collapse of foreign exchange earnings, which fell from some 8 billion dollars in 2019 to 3.4 billion last year.

Suddenly, it was necessary to come to the aid and support this sector which in less than two days was dying, hit hard by the pandemic for it to regain color. Tourism, it should be remembered, contributes 7% to the country’s GDP and employs more than 5% of the population. And if he was able to survive and emerge from his mortal pallor, it was thanks to the aid the State had granted him.

The latest support dates back to January, just before Morocco opened its doors. Indeed a new emergency plan of 2 billion dirhams had still been approved in order to allow tourist and hotel establishments a last facelift before the revival of a sector essential to the smooth running of the Moroccan economy.

Today, it is clear that since May, activity has picked up strongly and bears witness to an exceptional summer season. Morocco is again this “promising” tourist market. In a few months, the Kingdom has, slowly and surely, regained its traditional tourist source markets and is already one of the popular destinations. The enthusiasm for the Morocco destination is such that it carries Italy and the Greek islands.

To illustrate his release from convalescence, a few days ago, the guardianship had declared before the chamber of advisers that the recovery rate of tourism in Morocco had reached 80% at the end of last October. A rate that exceeds the world average of 70%. Fatim-Zahra Ammor, Minister of Tourism, Handicrafts and Social and Solidarity Economy had declared in the hemicycle that, ” tourism receipts had increased significantly in foreign currency, reaching 103% at the end of September, compared to 2019 “.

On the ground, we see that there is a jostling in terms of reservations for the end of the year holidays in Morocco. Hence a burst of optimism, even bliss, among Moroccan tourist operators who find their smiles on the forecasts. It is because we aspire to win back by 2023 these 13 million tourists (including RMEs) from 2019 who came to visit Morocco. The enthusiasm there seems to be evidence of the national or low-cost airlines which are coming back in force to serve the Kingdom.

Internally, it must also be said that Morocco makes every effort to ensure that the tourist seasons are full seasons. Festivals, conferences and other activities have made a comeback, and with them tourists. On the other hand, Morocco has winning assets. The diversification of its offers as well as other non-existent specificities with other competitors is the first. But for all that, it must upgrade to the international tourism industry, which almost everywhere in the world is gradually returning to its pre-pandemic level, thus making competition tougher.

We must highlight that the beauty of Morocco’s landscapes is a safe bet. The Kingdom is also a mosaic of cultures and influences, and therefore a privileged destination due to the richness of its thousand-year-old cultural heritage (Amazigh, Arab-Muslim, Hassanian, Jewish, Andalusian, Mediterranean and African), a mixture of traditions, of habits and customs, which make it attractive. A change of paradigm noted moreover in advertising spots displayed or broadcast in countries emitting tourists that Morocco welcomes willingly.

It is in this same context that the work of the 117th session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) opened on Thursday in Marrakech, with the participation of some 250 representatives of the Member States of the UNWTO. including 16 ministers and senior officials in charge of tourism, representatives of public or private structures concerned, destination management organizations, as well as specialized investors.

The agenda for this working meeting includes, in particular, the examination and discussion of current trends in international tourism, the financial situation of the organization, a report on human resources, a proposal for the creation of a group study to “rethink tourism for the future”, a report on the progress of the legal and operational framework for the establishment of regional and thematic offices of UNWTO and the election of the President and the two Vice -Presidents of the Executive Council for 2023.

On this occasion, the Secretary General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, emphasized the strong partnership linking Morocco and this specialized agency of the United Nations, and where the Kingdom “is an active member”.

While highlighting the enormous tourist assets of the Kingdom, able to place it in the circle of the main world tourist destinations, Pololikashvili noted that Morocco has made major investments, particularly at the level of tourist units, which make tourism a sector very attractive for Moroccan and foreign investors.

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