London - The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) seeks to increase the number of Chinese and Russians tourists visiting Morocco in order to boost the country's tourism industry.
London – The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) seeks to increase the number of Chinese and Russians tourists visiting Morocco in order to boost the country’s tourism industry.
Morocco is turning to new markets like Russia and China to support the country’s large tourism industry following a decline in visitors from traditional source markets, said Oxford Business Group (OBG).
Diversification will be key to meeting the goals of Morocco’s Vision 2020, the country’s tourism development plan, which ambitiously aims to attract 20 million visitors and boost tourism revenues to MAD 140 billion (€12.8 billion) by the end of the decade, said OBG in its latest analysis.
Last year revenues from tourism decreased 1.4% year-on-year to MAD 58.6 billion (€5.4 billion), with the country welcoming just over 10 million visitors, indicating the magnitude of the task ahead, the same source added.
Russian tourists spent only MAD 28 million (€2.6 million) in Morocco last year, but the Ministry of Tourism is increasingly looking to Russia as a priority market, said OBG’s experts.
In 2015 there were approximately 40,000 visitors from Russia, well behind the 3.3 million from France, 2.1 million from Spain and 615,000 from Germany, but the ONMT aims to increase that figure to 800,000 by 2020.
To support the Ministry’s effort, the country’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, which launched direct flights between Moscow and Casablanca in 2011, began service from the Russian capital to the southern resort town of Agadir in the second quarter of this year, said the OBG.
It added that the carrier is also in talks to establish direct flights from Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, to both Agadir and Marrakech.
Morocco has also embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns, the OBG noted, adding that earlier this year Moroccan tourism authorities hosted representatives of 30 Russian news outlets and 400 Russian travel agencies in Agadir, Marrakech and Casablanca to promote and increase the visibility of the kingdom’s tourist offerings.
In recent years, Morocco has launched an ambitious program to attract tourists from other countries, particularly Brazil, China and Russia, Scandinavian countries, Turkey and Germany.
During a meeting of the Moroccan National Tourist Office Board of Directors last December, outgoing Minister of Tourism, Lahcen Haddad said that Morocco seeks “to attract 800,000 tourists from the Scandinavian, Turkish, German and Russian markets by 2020.”
Haddad went on to add that his Ministry seeks to attract more than 120,000 Chinese and 200,000 Russian tourists by 2020 and turn Morocco into one of the 20 largest tourist destinations in the world.