While authorities work tirelessly to attract international tourists, there is a growing need to promote domestic tourism by ensuring a good price-performance ratio.
Rabat – Morocco is quickly becoming an exciting tourism destination for Colombians after their government signed a Visa Waiver program with the North African country.
The agreement would allow tourists to stay for no longer than 90 continuous days, and is set to consolidate socio-cultural cooperation between the two countries. In an article published on April 9, the oldest daily Colombian newspaper, El Tiempo, highlighted Morocco’s tourism potential with a particular focus on must-visit Moroccan cities.
Titled “Places to visit in Morocco, now that you can travel to it without a visa,” the article reminded Colombians of the visa exemption, saying: “You now only need your passport to travel to Morocco.”
As well as hailing what promotion to Morocco’s tourism sector has to offer, the Colombian newspaper also hinted at the country’s world-renowned success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of tourist attractions, the paper went on to shed light on the most beautiful historical Moroccan cities. It notably cited the worldwide popular red city of Marrakech as a must-visit, describing it “an ancient imperial city located in the west of Morocco and an important economic center with mosques, palaces, gardens as well as its medina and historical monuments.”
Marrakech is known for combining antiquity and modernity. Still a vibrant, perceptible part of daily life in the red city, — the ancient touches of the old dynasties coexist with a host of newcomers: international brands shops, luxurious hotels, malls, and entertainment spaces. The elaborate mix satisfies many tourists’ quest – or hunger – for an intermingling of the familiar and the exotic. El Tiempo also recommends visiting the Atlantic cities of Rabat and Casablanca.
As the administrative capital of Morocco, Rabat is a perfect destination for tourists who want to admire the beauty of a green city.
Casablanca, however, is a dense city with its particular charm.
As Morocco’s Mohammed V International airport is located in Casablanca, tourists tend to only pass through it or stay overnight and travel to other cities after visiting the massive Hassan II Mosque.
With its sandy beaches that attract tourists, the northern Atlantic city of Assilah is also featured among El Tiempo’s must-see cities.
The remote city of Ifrane, nicknamed “little Switzerland,” was also mentioned in the promotional article. The Colombian paper extolled its lakes and rivers in addition to the popular Lion stoned statue and world-cleanest streets.
Around 57 km northwest of Ifrane, the imperial city of Meknes offers many historical monuments and sites to visit.
Far away from Meknes, there is the Saharan city of Merzouga — southeastern Morocco – which also features on El Tiempo’s list of must-see Moroccan cities.
Merzouga is “a very popular city destination for tourists from around the world and known for its beautiful landscapes and the immensity of the dunes,” according to the Colombian newspaper.
Morocco has always been a much-loved destination for different types of tourism. The country’s natural and cultural diversity offers ample opportunities for tourists hankering after different things. Whether it be about beach, culture, eco, religion, rural, or nightlife tourism, Morocco-bound tourists can find something that speaks to their particular yearning.
There is, of course, the country’s weather. For many, driving flocks of tourists to Morocco are: the country’s famously warm weather in wintertime in its southern provinces; its cold weather in high altitude areas; and the relatively low cost of living and the hospitality of locals. The weather is sunny and warm and perfect for getting a tan in the summer.
Effect of visa exemptions on tourism
Since visas are not granted on a large scale, many tourists would prefer applying for a country’s visa that would be easily obtained. This presents an impediment to attracting tourists to visa-imposing countries.
The signing of the visa exemption agreement between Morocco and Colombia is seen as a move to revive the COVID-19 affected tourism sector by attracting a maximum of tourists who will not need to worry about visa procedures or visa fees.
Massive tourist arrivals would allow Morocco to increase its reserves of foreign currencies and revive the economy.
This comes with the challenge of drawing more attention to the tourists’ needs and demands to suitably meet them. To enhance the tourists’ expenditures, tourism actors need to work for rationalizing local products’ prices, hotels, and restaurants.
Morocco, however, cannot only rely on international tourism, there is a growing need to promote domestic tourism.
This can only be implemented through the setting up of affordable offers and adjusting prices to target the Moroccan middle-class. Tourism authorities need also to ensure a good price-performance ratio, accounting for the pressure on household budgets due to the pandemic.