RABAT, Morocco – “In 2013, for the first time in the history of Morocco, we have surpassed 10 million tourists, while domestic tourism has developed significantly, generating a turnover of 33 billion dirhams,” said Morocco’s Tourism Minister, Lahcen Haddad, in a statement to MAP on the sidelines of a meeting dedicated to the presentation of the tourism sector balance sheet in Morocco under the 2012-2016 government mandate.
The balance of the tourism sector under government mandate from 2012 to 2016 is “positive” he said on Tuesday from Rabat, Morocco’s capital.
Morocco is a “mature” tourist destination and a leading country in Africa and the Middle East, welcomed Mr. Haddad, insisting that “we are on track to achieve the Vision 2020 goals that will hoist Morocco among the top 20 tourist destinations in the world.”
Speaking at the meeting, the minister noted that the government has ensured since 2012, to accelerate the pace of implementation of tourism projects in the context of Vision 2020.
According to him, the government program has maintained tourism as a national property, fixing it with clear objectives for the period 2012-2016, especially in governance, development, and diversification of the tourist offer of increased flow of domestic tourists and international consolidation of sustainability in tourism, improving competitiveness and strengthening investment and training.
Mr. Haddad also noted on this occasion that despite the unfavorable economic situation on the regional and world stage, the Moroccan tourism industry managed to keep a “good level” on the international tourism scene with a total of 10.17 million visitors recorded in 2015, against 9.3 million in 2010.
It has focused on a market diversification policy that allowed an average annual growth of 3 percent in terms of arrivals at border posts during 2012-2015 and achieving positive performance particularly at German and UK markets, with respectively an average annual growth rate of 13% and 12%.
Moreover, he added, promotional efforts to conquer new markets were conclusive by a positive annual average growth for Brazil (+ 19%), India (+ 8%), China (+ 15%), the Middle East (+ 9%), and North America (+ 8%).
In terms of total overnight stays in tourist accommodation establishments classified, they have also experienced an average annual growth of 2% during the same period (2012-2015).
Furthermore, the minister welcomed the dynamic acceleration of the pace of development of bed capacity, noting that it will continue to bear fruit in 2016 with nearly 20,000 beds that will be added Morocco to offer, bringing “the total additional capacity” to 250,000 new beds.
He likewise stressed that significant progress has been made in the realization of various projects of Vision 2020.
In this regard, the minister said that the kingdom continued to attract foreign direct investment and was able to maintain its appeal and reach for the period 2012-2016, amounting to 4 billion dirhams.
New sector-specific measures have thus been launched to increase the attractiveness of investment, particularly through the premium of investment and a tax incentive framework, he explained.
Mr. Haddad also noted that the department has ensured the diversification of the tourist offer and the valuation of all assets and tourist areas of the country, through the acceleration of the implementation of the Plan Azur (reconfiguration of a financial package and sustainable positioning), and the establishment of specific programs to boost competitiveness and successfully challenge an offer valuing all assets and tourist areas of the country through the launch of three programs.
This is the tourism development program in the southern provinces’ Integrated Development Program of nature tourism “Qariati,” and the integrated development program of cultural tourism “M’dinti” he said.
In terms of domestic tourism, which has experienced an average annual growth rate of 6% in terms of nights, Mr. Haddad championed the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and stakeholders for national market development, including the establishment of regionalized holidays, and the development of the supply of Biladi stations.
The minister said that since 2010, an amount of one billion dirhams have been invested in the Biladi programs under which it conducted the opening of stations dedicated to domestic tourism, namely Ifrane since 2012, Imi Ouaddar in 2014, and Mehdia station, whose work has been launched by HM King Mohammed VI, who opened the first animation units.
He added that domestic tourism totaled 5.9 million overnight stays in 2015, an increase of 20% compared to 2012.