Rabat- The Moroccan southern city Dakhla, known for the kingdom’s most attractive venues for wave riders, is progressively becoming a large tourist destination, as overnight stays in classified accommodation establishments increased by 20 percent in 2017, compared with the previous year.
According to statistics from the regional tourism delegation, the total number of nights registered in 2017 was 116,798, with an increase of 20 percent compared to 2016. The biggest share goes to foreign tourists who spent a total 85,906 nights, while nationals spent 30,892 nights.
By nationality, France ranks first with 53,866 overnight stays, marking an 8 percent increase, followed by the Spanish and Belgian markets, which are respectively 30 and 103 percent higher than in 2016. The Dutch market has witnessed a significant change in the number of overnight stays, which jumped from 397 to 1942 in 2017.
The region is also contributing to growing tourism, adding an 11 percent boost for the tourism industry nationally.
During a conference featuring the regional council and the North-South Action Association, Regional Director of Tourism Daïf Allah Endour said that, despite its current limited capacity of 580 rooms, the region has witnessed a steady increase in tourist arrivals, adding that it intends to double its accommodation capacity by 2020, especially that it is attracting more and more kitesurfers from across the world.
He added, “We welcome a lot of tourists from Northern and Central Europe who come in big numbers to practice water sports,” and that the city is also capitalizing on the sports to attract more tourists.
The French newspaper Le Figaro once said that water sports make Dakhla, a “successful tourist destination,” which has become not only “a paradise for surfers but also a destination for lovers of the desert.”
With water temperatures at 25 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the southern city is an essential destination and a heaven for surfer and water sports, in addition to beach lovers.
To enhance its touristic appeal and make the region of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab Morocco’s ecological tourism hub, the council of the region has recently announced that it set aside MAD 8 billion to move factories away from the city, including sardine plants, and create a “West Africa Free Zone,” located some 40 kilometers from Dakhla, as part of a regional development plan worth MAD 17.7 billion.
Furthermore, Dakhla is now accessible by air from Casablanca, with ten flights per week. The city is also connected to Las Palmas (Canary Islands) with two direct flights, and to Paris with one flight per week.
During the conference, Endour ensured that by 2020, the Moroccan airline Royal Air Maroc(RAM) will offer 14 flights Dakhla-Casablanca per week, in addition to its accessibility via a 550 kilometer-long highway from Agadir.