- Tourism is a critical sector for Morocco’s economy, representing 7% of the country’s GDP.
- The Ministry of Tourism predicts a significant increase in tourist arrivals in the coming years, aiming to host 17.5 million visitors by 2026, and 26 million by 2030.
- Despite setbacks due to natural disasters and geopolitical tensions, the sector remains resilient with strategic actions being put in place to ensure its recovery and growth.
- Investments in increasing airline routes and boosting ties with other countries form part of these strategic initiatives. The sector is also looking to diversify its market by attracting tourists from Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.
Tourism is a significant contributor to Morocco’s economy, contributing 7% to the nation’s GDP. It remains a crucial source of foreign income. The Ministry of Tourism anticipates that by the end of 2023, the country will welcome 14 million visitors, with an interim target of 13.2 million tourists by the end of November.
Historical Tourism Trends and Future Goals
In 2022, Morocco saw 11 million visitors and 13 million in 2019, right before the global disruption of COVID-19 on worldwide travel. “All indicators suggest we can potentially reach the 14 million target by December,” stated Fatim-Zahra Ammor, the Tourism Minister. The nation has set an ambitious target of 17.5 million tourists by 2026, prompted by the inauguration of new airline routes, and is aiming for 26 million visitors by 2030, in line with co-hosting the World Cup with Spain and Portugal.
Challenges and Recovery of the Tourism Sector
The tourism sector has displayed resilience in the face of adversities such as the September earthquake that caused minor damage in Marrakech, a significant tourist hub. Despite initial economic concerns, the sector recouped following the IMF and World Bank meetings in the city. However, current geopolitical tensions in Gaza have led to a significant decrease in bookings, according to Faouzi Zemrani, a local tour operator.
Strategic Actions to Boost Tourism
Early in 2020, Morocco agreed to enhance relations with Israel with the hope of attracting more Israeli tourists. A three-year strategy has been announced to augment tourism, featuring a $600 million investment. Additionally, the tourism ministry is in talks with various airlines, including Ryanair, to introduce new routes, while also targeting China, Japan, India, and the Middle East to diversify its tourist origin markets.
The potential surge in tourism has implications for the forex market and could lead to a stronger Moroccan Dirham, impacting currency pair trades involving the Dirham.