By Alexandra Krauska
By Alexandra Krauska
Rabat – After the attack in Nice on Thursday, bookings by French tourists in Marrakech and Agadir declined 38 percent, according to the French Syndicate of Travel Enterprises (SNAV). The attack that killed 84 and injured hundreds more, in addition to the attack in Germany and the attempted coup in Turkey, has increased people’s fears and made them more hesitant to travel abroad.
Morocco’s Minister of Tourism, Lahcen Haddad, told Morocco World News in an exclusive interview earlier this month that Moroccan tourism remains “steadfast and resistant” in the face of international unrest, but this downturn may jeopardize their goals set in Vision 2020. This plan aimed to increase air travel to Morocco and make spaces available to tourists in hotels, and hopefully encourage more tourists to visit the country.
Morocco’s tourism sector is up since 2010, but it has been experiencing some difficulty in more recent years. Bookings by French tourists have already decreased since last summer, down by 30 percent.
Because of the downturn in the French tourism market, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism is looking to diversify markets. Potential markets include Brazil and China. Brazilian tourists have increased by 19 percent since 2010, and Chinese tourists have increased by 15 percent. Whether or not they will compensate for the declining numbers of French tourists has yet to be seen.
The United Kingdom currently states that Morocco is a country with a “high threat of terrorism,” and that attacks may target foreigners. The US also warns travellers about the potential terrorist threat, encouraging citizens to be constantly aware of their surroundings while in Morocco. This advice for caution may intimidate some tourists further.
“If you judge safety by how many acts take place in each country, you will find that Morocco is a safe country,” Haddad said. “We are a beautiful, diversified, and welcoming [nation].”
Moroccan authorities have thwarted several attacks and busted several terrorist cells in recent months.