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A recovery boosted by the arrival of MREs

According to figures released by the Ministry of Tourism, tourist arrivals reached more than 1,140,000 people during the month of June 2022, an increase of 5% compared to June 2019, which saw the arrival of 1,092,000 and 235 % compared to June 2021.

Speaking Tuesday, July 26 in response to oral questions in the House of Councillors, Fatima-Zahra Ammor, Minister of Tourism, said that the number of tourists has quadrupled compared to the same period in 2021, and represents 63% of the total of arrivals recorded in 2019. Indeed, for the month of June alone, the number of tourists reached 1.14 million, an increase of 5% compared to 2019.

This growth was stimulated by the influx of 620,000 Moroccans residing abroad (MRE) in June, an increase of 27% compared to June 2019. According to forecasts by the Ministry of Tourism, these arrivals should experience a peak during the month of August.

“The recovery is taking hold little by little and the figures confirm this in particular with an increase of more than 5% in arrivals at the end of June following the massive influx of MREs. A finding which will also be supported by the statistics expected for the end of July, because this is the record month for Morocco in terms of international tourists staying and MREs. It is then very possible that we will reach two million arrivals, including 1.3 million MREs and more than 600,000 or even 700,000 foreign tourists staying.underlines Zouhir Bouhout, expert in tourism.

As far as revenues are concerned, these increased by 173% compared to 2021, with a recovery rate of 71% compared to 2019.

“The increase in revenue also confirms that we are at more than 27 billion for the first half and by the end of the year, we will perhaps be able to reach 65 billion. Ditto for arrivals, we can expect a total of around 8-9 million tourists, and for overnight stays, we will necessarily be around 18 to 20 million overnight stays. In general, the year 2022 will be concluded with a score of 70% to 80% in terms of arrivals and overnight stays and 80 to 85% in terms of foreign exchange earnings. We hope that the recovery will continue for 2023, and if we maintain this momentum, it is very possible that we will be very close to the figures of 2019.says the expert.

For his part, Mounir Aberkane, Secretary General of the Federation of Travel Agencies and member of the Board of Directors of the CNT, maintains that despite a clear increase compared to 2021, “Tourist receipts remain lower by more than 18.6% compared to those at the end of June 2019. Logically, we could not expect the figures or receipts for 2019 this year. In terms of overnight stays, it should be noted that the recovery percentage at the end of June 2022 compared to the end of June 2019 is very low and differs depending on the markets concerned. Domestic tourism has recovered by 80%. The French market, our first issuing country, only recovered up to 48%. As for Germany and China, we are respectively at 12% and 13% only”.

Internal tourism contributes on a large scale to the economic and social development of the country. It is therefore necessary that the actors of the sector multiply their efforts and put the package in order to improve the national tourist offer.

“For this summer of 2022, I think the most important phenomenon is the new units that have been put into service this summer in Taghazout and Agadir. They came to reinforce the tourist offer. Indeed, there is a concentration of openings at the Taghazout station and I think that this year the city of Agadir will experience very significant growth. It is possible that it displays scores close to the pre-pandemic 2019. This is perhaps what constitutes a difference compared to the other cities, but overall, they have all experienced progress and novelties.explains Zouhir Bouhout.

For his part, Mohamed Farissi, director of a travel agency in Casablanca, maintains that “national tourists have been able to take advantage of the promotional advantages made available to them by travel agencies, particularly with regard to hotel offers with complete formulas”.

And to continue: “Travel packages at competitive prices have been launched to encourage national tourism at the seaside resorts, such as Saidia, Tangier, Agadir, Al Hoceima, and of course Marrakech which is always popular with tourists. The formulas contain fun activities for children, or musical and relaxation activities for families.

Indeed, most of the promotional packs relate to internal tourism. There were also outings abroad, with organized trips. And the most popular country is Turkey, because many of our fellow citizens have not renewed their Schengen visas. As a result, they have opted for countries without visas or which enjoy a certain flexibility”.

According to the Minister of Tourism, the latest surveys carried out show that 51% of Moroccan tourists prefer seaside tourism, 58% opt for travel during school holidays and 60% for family travel, while 72% are more interested in the price of tourist services.

Regarding the choices favored by Moroccan and foreign tourists during this summer period, Zouhir Bouhout believes that “Preferences are leaning towards coastal cities and resorts, given the latest heat waves and high temperatures. The stations that are full are Tanger, Tetouan, Agadir, El Jadida, and Essaouira.

To this, we can also add the city of Marrakech given the importance of the offer. The ocher city totals about 74,000 beds in Morocco, it is almost a third of the capacity offered for the tourism sector. It also shows very high occupancy rates and reservations. It has become essential, especially since it offers attractive possibilities such as “all inclusive”, entertainment offers (Jamaa El fna) as well as the programming of excursions that can be done at Al Haouz and Ourika. . There will also be a very significant recovery in Agadir following the opening of hotels and accommodation units which are of very high quality and are popular with tourists during the summer period. .

It should be noted that several measures have been adopted in order to ensure a good tourist dynamic, the latest of which is that of the official launch, on July 10, by the Moroccan government of the electronic visa aimed at strengthening the attractiveness of the destination “Morocco” in above all to make it possible to exploit an enormous tourist potential with the targeted categories.

There was also the launch of campaigns by “The Moroccan National Tourist Office with the involvement of the National Confederation of Tourism. Filling hotel rooms with foreign tourists also involves providing airplane seats and the efforts made to achieve this. The CNT recommends an offensive plan to double efforts in terms of air and maritime connectivity as well as a consolidation of relations with tour operators for a fair relaunch of the territories.emphasizes Mounir Aberkane.

And to add: “Not all regions have benefited in the same way from the recovery. In this sense, the CNT recommends funding at the regional level to strengthen the competitiveness of players and promote the emergence of new ecosystems. Next, it should be noted that the fundamentals of the entire tourism sector remain fragile after two years of crisis. At the same time, the potential remains under-exploited. In this sense, we recommend, to stimulate internal demand, to encourage travel by the rapid implementation of tax-exempt travel vouchers, and a regionalization of the school holiday calendar. Finally, we must not forget the exogenous risks linked to global geopolitics and drought”.

To allow the acceleration of this recovery, Zouhir Bouhout recommends betting on the development of three major axes which he describes as being the winning trio. These include air transport, investment and training.

“There needs to be a real strengthening of air transport and then for internal tourism, it is essential to review the strategy of resorts intended for Moroccans according to their purchasing power. It is also imperative to strengthen investments for the medium term because we are still far from the efforts made by our competitors in this direction. We should also insist on training because there has been the retraining of staff to other sectors because of the crisis due to the pandemic.he concludes.


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