Back on July 6th, The View From Fez ran the story of Air Arabia's plans to base aircraft in Fez and run new flights to various European cities. Also in the story was an indication that Air Arabia was planning to run a service between Dakar and Fez (See story here). Now comes the news that Royal Air Morocco (RAM) could go into competition with Air Arabia and, in the words of Jalal Imani, the representative in Senegal of the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT), "ultimately RAM could offer twice weekly direct flights between Dakar and Fez"
"From Senegal to Morocco, RAM offers three flights a day. And now RAM can add two flights per week directly into Fez," Jalal Imani said in an interview with the Senegalese daily L'Observateur.
"RAM has to create a specific tariff adapted to the needs of Senegalese, whose purchasing power is lower than that of a European," said Jalal Imani. "The price must fall and turn around 200,000 CFA francs and is fixed throughout the year for agencies that wish to set up tourist packages to Morocco".
Senegal tops the list of African countries sending tourists to Morocco with Moroccan authorities wanting to double the present numbers. The main reason for the inflow of Senegalese is religious tourism.
|Cheikh Ahmet Tijani's tomb in Fez|
Last February, Abderrafia Zouitene, the Director General of the Moroccan National Tourist Office announced that a direct air route between Dakar and Fez would soon be open to intensify the flow of the religious tourism between the two countries. "We work with our Senegalese brothers on the opening of a direct line between Dakar and Fez, with very affordable prices and that will allow to increase the flow of this cult tourism," he said, speaking at the signing in the Senegalese capital of a memorandum of understanding with the families of the Tariqa Tijaniya (Tijani Brotherhood) in Senegal.
Abderrafia Zouitene said his organisation wanted "an affordable price level of flight and stay and this is also the wish of representatives of major Tijani religious families who have asked for attractive prices on the Fez destination".
Sīdī 'Aḥmad al-Tijānī (1737–1815), who was born in Aïn Madhi, (present-day Algeria) and died in Fez, founded the Tijānī order in the 1780s. Each year thousands of Senegalese pilgrims visit Fez and the mausoleum of the Brotherhood's founder Cheikh Ahmad Tijani.