Morocco is making a slow progress in its recovery from the tourism downturn, with some 4.2 million tourists visiting the Kingdom in the first half of 2016. This is a decrease of 2.6% compared to the same period in 2015
According to figures from Morocco’s Tourism Office ,the number of foreign tourists was down 5.6% while arrivals of Moroccans living abroad showed an increase of 1.7%.
Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy decreased by 8%, 7%, 5% and 5% respectively, while the number of tourists from Holland remained steady.
Overnight stays in tourist accommodation facilities decreased by 4% compared to the same period of 2015.
|Agadir is attracting the Russians|
Agadir, Morocco’s second tourist city, has shown good progress with visitors from the national market and from Russia and Algeria.
After the relative decrease of tourism in Agadir during the month of Ramadan, the city is expected to regain its usual vitality in the month of August.
In an interview with TelQuel, Fouad Hajoui, the director of the Regional Centre of Tourism (CRT) said, “In August, arrivals will probably record a rise. We hope to finish the year with an increase of 1 or 2 percent.”
Agadir received 473,000 tourists from January to July, which represents a decline of 3 percent. This decline is due to decreases as high as 20% percent of tourists from important markets such as France, England, and Belgium.
Hajaoui assures the tourist industry that the city is striving to regain its appeal to tourists who have been shunning it and turning to other Moroccan cities, such as Marrakech, which remains Morocco’s main tourist destination. “There are other markets to regain, as the French, English, and German, in decline, or the Scandinavian countries, which are moving towards Marrakech,” Hajaoui said.
The Russian market, a rising market for Moroccan tourism, also saw an important increase in July compared to the same month in 2015. 5,200 Russian tourists visited Agadir in July, which constitutes a massive increase of 420%.
Another equally crucial market according to the director of CRT is Algeria. Algeria poured around 3,000 tourists into Agadir in 2016, a rise of 40% compared to last year. This rise has urged the professionals to study the possibility of launching an air route between Algiers and Agadir.
On the other hand, the national market witnessed an upswing of 19,000 visitors in the month of July, which represents an increase of 59.3 percent compared to the same period of last year.
Agadir is not without its problems “The bed capacity is unfortunately not sufficient,” Hajoui said. “Some travellers actually spend the night on the beach or in their cars”. This is a problem also present in most Moroccan tourist destinations, such as Fez, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat,
To alleviate this problem, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism Vision 2020, launched in 2010, aims to increase bed capacity to 372,300 beds and attract 20 million international tourists by 2020.
Halfway towards completion of the 2020 strategy, it appears that the Ministry is on track. According to statistics provided by the Ministry, Morocco’s bed capacity increased from 97,000 beds in 2001 to more than 230,000 beds at the end of 2015.
In addition to increasing bed’s capacity, the Ministry of tourism strives to expand the tourism market in China and North America and assist this by Morocco seeking to increase the number of flights between the target countries and the Kingdom’s main tourist destinations, such as Marrakech, Fez, Agadir, Rabat.
At the same time, Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism’s ranking system for tourist accommodations is being revised.
To ensure quality tourist services that meet the expectations of customers and to distinguish between different levels of tourist accommodation, the government implemented a ranking system in 2002.
Participation in the ranking system is mandatory for tourist establishments and although applying nationally, the scheme has been administered regionally since 2002.
The ranking system is divided into three sections: the ranking scope, the ranking device, and the ranking repository.
The Ministry of Tourism distinguishes between 14 types of tourist establishments: hotel, motel, hotel residence, residential real estate tourism for promotion, hotel-club, hostel, guest house, home, centre or convention centre, bivouac, and tourist restaurant. Each type may include one or more categories.
The tourist establishment ranking system assignes a classification according to a star system (1 *, 2 *, 3 *, 4 *, 5 *) and categories (1st class, 2nd class …).
The system allows tourist establishments to comply with the ranking standards and benefit from a range of competitive advantages, allowing them to enhance the quality of their services and their competitiveness at national and international levels.
Tourist establishments benefit from marketing, publicity and public relations activities conducted by the Moroccan National Tourist Office and the Regional and Provincial Centre of Tourism, with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of fairs and exhibitions in Morocco and abroad. They can also become better known by being listed in the official guides.