Friday, January 22, 2016

The Russians Are Coming -Добро пожаловать!

Добро пожаловать в Марокко русские!!

In the last month more than 10,000 Russians visited The View From Fez looking for information about Morocco. Over the last few years Russian visitors to the site have reached 45,000. This upsurge in interest has not yet translated into large numbers of Russian tourists in the country, but tourism operators say they expect many more Russians to start arriving in the next few months
Abderrafie Zouiten, the Director General of the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) was in Moscow this week and says that Morocco is aiming to attract 200,000 Russian tourists a year. That is an ambitious goal as the unofficial figures available for 2013/2014, suggest that some 50,000 Russian tourists visited the Kingdom. Moscow and St Petersburg are the prime targets for Morocco's advertising campaigns.

Abderrafie Zouiten

While there has always been a steady stream of Russians visiting the country, the increased interest over the last year is probably due to Morocco's stability and safe security environment, as compared to other North African and Middle Eastern destinations. Unrest in Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt has seen many Russians cancelling trips to the region.

Outside of the North African region Russian tourists have traditionally favoured Spain, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Airline connections between Morocco and Russia have improved with Royal Air Morocco (RAM) offering direct flights between Moscow, Casablanca and Agadir, and plans to establish other direct flights between Saint Petersburg, Agadir and Marrakech. Although Fez has a new international terminal, it seems to have been neglected when it comes to connections to Russia.

According to Abderrafie Zouiten, the ONMT has devised an ambitious strategy to attract more Russian tourists. The organisation will host representatives of more than 30 Russian media outlets who have been invited to visit Morocco in February. They will be shown the cities of Agadir, Marrakesh and Casablanca. Once again, Fez is not mentioned. However Zouiten said that the Office is preparing to host 400 Russian travel agencies in April to promote the destination of Morocco.

Perhaps it's time for a Russian language school in Fez!

Добро пожаловать!

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