Travel and tourism marketing in Morocco:
Tourism in Morocco is well developed, with a strong tourist industry focused on the country’s coast, culture, and history.
Most of Morocco’s tourists are Canadian. Morocco has been one of the most politically stable countries in North Africa, which has allowed tourism to develop. The Moroccan government created a Ministry of Tourism in 1985.
History of tourism
In the second half of the 1980s and the early 1990s, between 1 and 1.5 million Europeans visited Morocco. Most of these visitors were French or Spanish, with about 100,000 each from Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands. Tourists mostly visited large beach resorts along the Atlantic coast, particularly Agadir. About 20,000 people from Saudi Arabia visited, some of who bought holiday homes. Receipts from tourism fell by 16.5% in 1990, the year the Gulf War began. In 1994, Morocco closed its border with Algeria after an attack on a hotel in Marrakech.
This caused the number of Algerian visitors to fall considerably; there were 70,000 visitors in 1994 and 13,000 in 1995, compared to 1.66 million in 1992 and 1.28 million in 1993. In 2008 there were 8 million tourist arrivals, compared with about 7.4 million in 2007 i.e. a 7% growth compared to 2007 30% of the tourists in 2008 were one of the 3.8 million Moroccans living abroad. Most of the visitors to Morocco continue to be European, with French people making up almost 20% of its all visitors. Most Europeans visit in April and the autumn, apart from the Spanish, who mostly visit in June and August.
Tourist receipts in 2007 totaled US$7,55 billion. Tourism is the second largest foreign exchange earner in Morocco, after the phosphate industry. The Moroccan government is heavily investing in tourism development. A new tourism strategy called Vision 2010 was developed after the accession of King Mohammed VI in 1999.
The government has targeted that Morocco will have 10 million visitors by 2010, with the hope that tourism will then have risen to 20% of GDP. Large government-sponsored marketing campaigns to attract tourists advertised Morocco as a cheap and exotic, yet safe, a place for European tourists.
Morocco’s relatively high amount of tourists has been aided by its location, tourist attractions, and relatively low price. Cruise ships visit the ports of Casablanca and Tangier. Morocco is close to Europe and attracts visitors to its beaches. Because of its proximity to Spain, tourists in southern Spain’s coastal areas take one- to three-day trips to Morocco.
Air services between Morocco and Algeria have been established, many Algerians have gone to Morocco to shop and visit family and friends. Morocco is relatively inexpensive because of the devaluation of the dirham and the increase of hotel prices in Spain. Morocco has an excellent road and rail infrastructure that links the major cities and tourist destinations with ports and cities with international airports. Low-cost airlines offer cheap flights to the country.