New York - On December 14, 2010, the Moroccan Department of Tourism released its Vision 2020 plan.
New York – On December 14, 2010, the Moroccan Department of Tourism released its Vision 2020 plan.
A private presentation was made to His Majesty King Muhammad VI a month before. The goal was set. “To raise Morocco, by 2020, to be one of the world’s top twenty tourist destinations and a model of sustainability in the Mediterranean destinations,”
Tourism is integral to the Moroccan economy. It is the second biggest contributor to the Gross Domestic Production and the second largest creator of jobs.
Morocco is certainly the top destination in all of Africa. In 2014, 12.2 million tourists arrived in Morocco compared to 9.2 million visitors to South Africa.
But climbing to 20th place worldwide would require a coordination of efforts and strategic execution.
Azur 2020 was one of six programs designed to reach the goal set out in 2010. Azur 2020 focuses on strengthening Morocco seaside resort industry both in the Atlantic and Mediterranean shores. It also seeks to develop new tourist destinations in the Souss and Sahara.
The other programs include Patrimony/Heritage, Business/Well-being, Events/Sports/Leisure, Biladi, and Eco/Green Sustainability.
A showcase for the Eco/Green Sustainability program is the hosting of the COP22 U.N.-sponsored Climate Change conference in Marrakech in November. It will bring in tens of thousands of participants, delegates and visitors to see Morocco’s most visited tourist destination.
The climb to 20th in the world is also made difficult by the rising threat of terrorist strikes and the declining economies of Europe.
European tourists account for the bulk of hotel stays in Morocco. As there disposable income declines, they tend to choose destinations closer to home.
Morocco’s tourism professionals have sought to offset these roadblocks to success.
Earlier this week, Aziz Mnii, representative for Morocco’s Tourism Board in Stockholm, announced a social media campaign to attract more Scandinavian tourist to Morocco. In addition, the Moroccan Ambassador to Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding with the Thai Tourism Bureau which would make Morocco a desired destination for Thai tourists.
Europe is not the only goal mine for tourist, and to reach its Vision 2020 goal, the Moroccan Tourism Board is reaching out to Asia to diversify the pool of potential visitors.
Morocco is unique in its approach to security for tourists. Through pro-active policies and arrests, there have been no terrorist attacks in the country since 2011. Other Africa nnations, such as Tunisia and Egypt, have seen major declines in their numbers of tourist because of terrorism.
There has been a decrease in tourism in Morocco for the first half of 2016, but through innovative approaches and a focus on the Vision 2020, Morocco may yet reach its goal.