The agreement is expected to set the seal on a relationship that began three years ago, after Morocco announced visa exemptions for Chinese citizens in June 2016.
Rabat – Morocco’s tourism ministry has signed a “co-marketing partnership” agreement with Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency, to promote Chinese tourism in Morocco.
Signed on Friday in Rabat by Adel El Fakir, the general director of the Moroccan National Office for Tourism (ONMT), and James Liang, executive chairman of Ctrip, the agreement is set to be a key part of broader China-Morocco bilateral connections, according to the two parties.
As Rabat and Beijing seek to expand their political and commercial ties, it is also important that they invest in socio-cultural ties between Moroccans and Chinese, said representatives from both parties.
The partnership is expected to set the seal on a relationship that began three years ago. In June 2016, Morocco announced a new visa policy for Chinese tourists. Chinese citizens can now obtain visas upon arrival in Morocco instead of having to get them in advance.
Since that move, the number of Chinese people visiting Morocco has exponentially jumped, from less than 20,000 when the policy was announced to over 180,000 in 2018, according to the Moroccan tourism ministry. While the change in figures has been impressive, the goal of the partnership is to attract as many as 500,000 Chinese tourists per year.
Referring to the visa policy, Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani said that Morocco’s hope is to “become a privileged travel destination for Chinese.”
In a subsequent interview with Chinese outlet Xinhua, El Othmani reiterated Morocco’s desire to be a leading tourism destination for China.
“We are waiting for more Chinese tourists to visit Morocco in the future,” El Othmani said. “The tourism cooperation between the two countries is of great significance and will enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples and lay a foundation for further strengthening bilateral relations.”