Rabat – Approximately 5.1 million tourists visited Morocco in the first six months of 2018, up 10 percent from the same period in 2017.
According to statistics from Morocco’s Tourism Observatory, the number of foreign tourist arrivals increased by 10 percent from the same period in 2017, while the arrival of Moroccans living abroad increased by 1 percent.
Morocco registered a notable increase in the rate of tourist arrivals from Italy, up 18 percent; Germany, up 13 percent; France, up 10 percent; Holland, up 8 percent; the United Kingdom, up 7 percent; and Spain, up 6 percent.
In overnight stays, Morocco’s hotels and guest house registered an increase of 10 percent in the first half of 2018, with an increase of 13 percent for non-resident tourists and 3 percent for residents.
Marrakech and Agadir recorded 56 percent and 55 percent, respectively, increases in overnight stays. Casablanca also showed a notable increase of 56 percent in overnight stays.
The country’s overall occupancy rate of classified hotels reached 44 percent.
Revenue generated from non-resident tourists in Morocco increased by 15.2 percent to reach MAD 31.2 billion at the end of June, up from MAD 27 billion a year earlier.
Chinese tourists increase to 120,000
An increasing number of Chinese tourists have visited Morocco since they were exempted from applying for visas in June 2016. Chinese passport holders are entitled to 90-day visas on arrival in Morocco.
The Chinese People’s Daily noted that, since the start of visa exemption, Morocco has received a large number of Chinese tourists in all seasons. The newspaper added that, especially in the summer, “we can see the Chinese everywhere” across Morocco from north to south.
According to the newspaper, approximately 120,000 Chinese tourists visited Morocco in the first five months of 2018. In 2017, 107,500 Chinese tourists arrived in Morocco, compared with 43,000 in 2016.
The tourism sector is one of Morocco’s economic pillars, and the government aims to make the kingdom one of the top 20 destinations worldwide for China’s 500,000 tourists by 2020.