While tourism in Morocco is going through the post holiday quiet season, the outlook for 2016 is good with Abderrafie Zouiten, Morocco’s General Manager of National Tourism (ONMT), being in an optimistic mood. Zouiten said in a meeting on Wednesday that “Morocco wants to attract 1.5 million tourists in the next two years” which will require an additional MAD 400 million over and above the cost of 2020 strategic vision.
This plan focuses on tourists from Germany and the United States. Morocco’s plan is to forge new partnerships with airlines and open 57 aerial routes.
Zouiten explained that the tourism office now primarily uses digital media to provide information regarding Morocco’s geographical distribution of tourism, enhance Morocco’s reputation for tourism, and to announce the administrative procedures needed for foreign tourists to come to Morocco. “These steps which will be available next month, will enable 80 percent of tourists to use the Internet for planning and booking their trips,’’ he added.
In addition, Morocco has now established a track record for safety that is the envy of many alternative destinations. Karla Dieseldorff, writing for Morocco World News, points out that Morocco earned another recognition as a safe country as it has been excluded from a list of “potentially unstable areas for 2016”.
According to “Preventive Priorities Survey: 2016”, an annual study on conflict prevention published in December by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an American think tank, Morocco is not expected to become a conflict zone in 2016.
The council, which specialises on U.S. foreign policy, tracks areas around the world where conflict could break out or intensify and have an impact on U.S. interests, according to the CFR’s Global Conflict Tracker website.
The survey lists conflict zones in three levels. Those that could have a “critical impact”, a “significant impact” or a “limited impact” to the United States.
The CFR’s 2016 survey anticipates a “critical impact” that could trigger American military involvement or pose a threat to its resources among the following conflicts: Taliban in Afghanistan, War in Syria, Disputes in China Sea, North Korea, and the War Against ISIS in Iraq.
Conflict zone of “significant impact” on key countries to the U.S. in 2016 could be: India-Pakistan, Lebanon, Ukraine, Yemen, Libya, Israel-Palestine, Kurdish Insurgency, Islamist Militancy in Egypt, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Organised Crime in Mexico.
Conflicts with a “limited impact” to the U.S. but with severe humanitarian consequences could be: Violence in Mali, Central African Republic, Congo, Myanmar, War in South Sudan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Uighur in China, as well as Islamist militancy in Russia and Al-Shabab in Somalia.
Morocco’s intelligence security services, the DGNS, DGST, Royal Gendarmerie, FAR, Auxiliary Forces and the country’s local police force, have been working incessantly to protect the safety of its citizens and tourists.
Spared from the 2016 list of potential conflict zones, Morocco had an excellent safety record in 2015.
Last July, according to British newspaper, The Times, Morocco stood out as a “safe haven” in North Africa, “immune” from terrorist attacks.
In November, Morocco ranked high among the list of “safest countries in the world”, alongside European and North American nations, and the only safe country in the MENA region, according to the British Foreign Office (FCO) classification of 2015.
Days later, a note released by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Morocco is the safest country in North Africa, adding that its political and security situation allows the organisation of professional and individuals trips of tourists.
In December, International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security services Company, and Control Risks published a Travel Risk Map 2016, displaying each country’s medical risk and travel security risk rating.
According to the report, Morocco ranked as a low travel-security-risk destination with medium medical risk. It was the only country listed under low security risk index in North Africa.
Days later, a U.S security report issued by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) revealed that Morocco is, in general, a safe country for tourists to visit.
Morocco 2015 Crime and Safety Report stressed that “crime does not pose a significant threat to Americans in Morocco.”
The report revealed that “no area within Morocco is considered off-limits,” advising American tourists to keep “normal precautions,” and move freely in Morocco as they wish.