A total of 12.3 million tourists visited Morocco last year, up 8.3% compared to 2017 (+14% for foreign tourists and +2% for Moroccans residing abroad), according to the Tourism observatory.
The top source markets showed an increase in terms of arrivals in 2018, in particular Italy and Germany (+15% and +10% respectively), followed by France and Spain (+8% and +6% respectively), the observatory points out in a note on tourism statistics in Morocco.
The same source also reports a rise in total overnight stays in tourist accommodation establishments of 8.4% over the past year (+12% for non-resident tourists and +1% for residents), indicates the observatory, adding that the two main tourist destinations, Marrakech and Agadir alone accounted for 60% of total overnight stays at the end of December 2018.
The two cities posted increases of 10% and 8% respectively, while the other destinations achieved good performances, in particular Fez (+16%), Rabat (+10%) and Tangier (+9%).
The airport Marrakech-Menara registered during the year 2018 a record passenger traffic compared to the year 2017, with more than 5 million passengers.
According to data published by the National Office of Airports (ONDA), a total of 5,279,575 passengers passed through the airport Marrakech-Menara, against 4,366,263 travelers during the year 2017, an increase of 20.92 %.
In December alone, 489,250 passengers used this airport infrastructure against 403,551 passengers in the same month of 2017, which represents a growth of 21.24%, says the Office.
40 new air services to Morocco planned in the summer of 2019 to boost tourism
The Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) announces that the summer season 2019 will be marked by the opening of 40 new air routes between the main issuing markets and the different regions of the kingdom. Thus, 85 weekly frequencies will be added to the more than 1,200 already existing, which represent no less than 456,686 additional seats, said the office in a statement.
For the ONMT, these 40 new services attest to the attractiveness of the destination Morocco in its main issuing markets (France, Spain and Germany) but also in Turkey, Italy and other European countries, Ryanair will take over the Charleroi-Essaouira route, formerly operated by TUIFly.
If the new flights operated in France, Spain and Germany, tourists from Greece, Belgium, Austria or Portugal will have the opportunity to travel to Morocco via the many connections and frequencies of flights to the main Moroccan cities which will be increased.
Marrakech is the first destination concerned, with the creation of 19 new connections, reveals the ONMT. The ocher city is followed by Tangier (6 connections) and Fez (5 connections). The North with Tetouan, and the South with Agadir, Ouarzazate and Dakhla, also benefit from new air connections, allowing all regions of Morocco to gain accessibility with the following eight companies: Ryanair, Easy Jet, Turkish Airlines, Air Arabia, Vueling Airlines, Transavia, Volotea and Condor.
As for Essaouira, it will benefit during the winter 2019/2020 of 4 French routes from Orly (via Transavia with 4 frequencies), Bordeaux (Easyjet, 2 frequencies), Lyon (Easyjet, 2 frequencies) and Marseille (Ryanair, 2 frequencies), plus the Belgian route from Charleroi (Ryanair, 2 frequencies).
British tourism professionals: Morocco remains safe country
The British should not give up traveling to Morocco following the recent warning from their Foreign Ministry (FCO) regarding "a possible threat" of a terrorist act, said the website of The Telegraph in reference to experts in travel.
Steph Millington, head of product at Intrepid Travel, said Morocco is a safe destination as travelers follow certain guidelines adding that 70% of its customers are women.
"As with all travel, it is important to use common sense ... to dress more modestly, to respect local customs and cultures, to avoid isolated areas and to avoid traveling alone. Public transport, but it is quite similar to other parts of Europe", she said noting that Morocco is no more dangerous than London or Paris.
"Morocco relies on its tourism industry and tourists are generally well protected," said the tour operator adding that there are police checks on all roads in addition to a tourist brigade in all major tourist cities, which take all complaints very seriously, and security guards guard hotels and B&Bs day and night.
However, she advised the British to go to the outskirts of Issaguen, "the Moroccan capital of marijuana", especially for single women.
The FCO has updated its guidelines for Morocco about 10 days ago, considering that terrorists were likely to commit acts such as those that took the lives of two Scandinavian students near Mount Toubkal in December.
The Foreign Office has advised British travelers planning to hike on Mount Toubkal or other Moroccan mountains to seek advice from the local population and take the necessary precautions regarding safe camping sites. And warn: "Trekking or camping alone can be dangerous; consider joining a group or hiring a licensed guide".
Advices for safe touristic trip in Morocco
During your sty in Morocco try to be friendly, but not over-friendly as it may be misunderstood due to cultural differences and avoid physicality (hugging etc.). Unless you're experienced, have a friend or a group; particularly if you want to explore the countryside and avoid walking alone at night or on lonely remote beaches. Try to engage a reputable guide for hiking (they really know what they're doing, and you'll enjoy it more, for sure) and camp at designated sites where local people can help you out. Don’t forget to keep in touch and let people know where you're arriving. Most people working in hotels are looking for their guests, and do not let embarrassment put you in awkward positions. If you feel uncomfortable, make a firm goal polite getaway. However, avoid getting irate and humiliating people publicly as it can make things worse. Another important tip is that of avoiding displaying expensive jewelry or carrying lots of cash. But keep in mind that if you need help … ask for it. Moroccans are very friendly and hospitable