While many people visiting Morocco prefer to stay in a traditional riad or dar, there are those who feel more at home in a major hotel. On The View from Fez we have often featured new riads opening across the country, but today we update the latest news about the big hotel chain, Ramada.
According to the UK Independent, "...In a boost to Morocco's burgeoning tourism market, the owner of the Ramada hotel group has announced that it plans to construct eight properties in the North African country.
At the opening of the new Ramada Fes, Fawaz Majid Al Badr, the CEO of hotel owner the Al-Tameer investment group, told reporters and guests that the Kuwaiti group would build a further seven properties in the country.
Al Badr is quoted by the ANSAmed news agency as giving the locations as "in Marrakesh, Rabat, Casablanca and Agadir."
Pool at the Ramada Fez
The new $14m (€10.4m) Ramada Fes boasts 133 rooms, three restaurants and a spa.
The support of Ramada will be a welcome boost to the Moroccan government's program to increase tourism income, which has been reduced to 2007 levels by the global economic downturn.
In 2001, Moroccan King Mohamed VI laid out plans to reach 10 million tourists per year by 2010, helped in part by the creation of six major tourism sites on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines and the creation of 15,000 rooms in Morocco's major cities.
Whilst building work in six resorts of Mogador, Lixus, Mazagan, Saidia, Taghazout and the Plage Blanche is still underway, tourist arrivals, particularly from Europe, have boomed.
According to official figures, tourist arrivals went from 4.3m in 2001 to 7.8 million in 2008, making the 10 million mark a real possibility (despite the downturn) by the end of the year. Inbound visitors from France make up the majority of arrivals - accounting for 1.7 million visitors in 2008."