Morocco returns to 70% of pre-pandemic travel market

Morocco, the host country of Abta’s Travel Convention, has seen its tourism sector recover to 70% of 2019 levels this year.

Welcoming delegates to the event in Marrakech, Adel El Fakir, chief executive of the Moroccan National Tourism Office, said: “Since the revival of flights last February, the figures show that we are back to 70% of our 2019 performance.”

He said agreements signed with carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet, are the “guarantee of a strong increase in capacity”.

More: Travel Convention to take place in Bodrum in 2023

“For us, the British market is a priority. It is our second most important market in value with 600,000 British tourists welcomed in 2019, for a total of 2.2 million overnight stays,” he said.

“However, it is also a market with high added value in quantitative terms, providing the conditions for an ambitious development in the years to come.”

He said airline links are essential to enable this growth.

“Currently, six companies – Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Tui Fly and Air Arabia – connect seven airports in Great Britain and Ireland to five Moroccan destinations: Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier and Fes,” he added.

He said before the pandemic, the industry showed a “steady” growth of 5% per year, accounting directly for 7% of Moroccan GDP and providing 500,000 direct jobs and twice as many indirect jobs.

The country welcomed 13 million arrivals in 2019, thanks to its accessibility from European markets, but also due to the quality and diversity of its offer, he added.

“For us, the Covid crisis has been an opportunity,” he continued.

“Despite the difficulties experienced by operators, and thanks to the aid of the Moroccan state, it gave us time to re-evaluate our ambitions and prepare us for a powerful relaunch.”

This relaunch included the MNTO’s latest campaign, Morocco, Kingdom of Light, which aims to appeal to a new generation of travellers by showcasing a “contemporary, dynamic” nation.

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