Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fez Hit Hard by Tourism Slump

Since the beginning of 2016 overnight stays in Fez are down 20%. The downturn has hit not only business in the tourist sector of Morocco's spiritual capital, but local traders say that the effects are being felt right down to many local families and artisans working in the Fez Medina. In some cases guesthouses have been forced to either close or lay off staff

There are now fewer tourists in the Fez Medina

According to a statement from the Fès-Boulemane Regional Delegation of Tourism, until the end of June, 326,201 overnight stays were registered in the spiritual capital of the kingdom, against 407,243 in the same period of last year.

In the 3, 4 and 5 star guest houses, occupancy rates are as low as 29% as compared to 35% last year. In hotels the guest numbers were also down with only 166,427 arrivals as against 200,873 a year earlier.

Of equal concern is the average length of stay. While Fez and its surrounds can easily fill a week-long itinerary, tourists have been opting for far shorter stays with the average length of a stay in Fez being only two days. This suggests that much more work needs to be done in promoting the Medina and the local area with its many day-trip destinations.

The slump in tourist numbers is also having an effect on guest house owners with a number either having sold their businesses or contemplating doing so. The more informal backpacker market appears to be sustaining itself, but is not sufficient to boost the overall situation in Fez as backpackers have relatively low disposable income.

On the up side - there are many guest houses offering lower rates and with the beautiful Autumn weather arriving, it is a perfect time to visit Fez.



scottso said...

You can keep yourself plenty busy in Fez for a week easy....

It's one of those osmosis kind of places ... you need to just be in it for a few days to get a real sense of what makes it tic. Wander around ... get lost ... wander around ... repeat.

Thats the first 3 days... and thats before taking a day trip out to Volubilis the world's southern most Roman ruin. Its awesome.

One recommnedation though ... get a good guide early in your stay and let them lead you around. It will make it that much easier when you venture out on your own later on.

pema said...

Do you think it is possible/probable that the Maroc Tourist Office has been pitching to the wrong demographic? They've been schmoozing the high end -- 5* hotels, golf courses, haute cuisine etc: Intuition and experience tell me that these people don't want to traipse through the medina, scramble round Volubilis in the scorching sun or do wine tastings in Meknes.They prefer the likes of Monte Carlo or the Bahamas. People who love Maroc (inc me) are boho, arty, mostly middle income, literate, spiritual and adventurous. They prefer nights in tents in the desrrt to nights in a glitzy cocktail bar. They loved the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music when it was a sacred music festival with a mission towards creating a better world. Now it is an empty shell minus its heart and soul. And who runs? One guess -- you got it the Maroc Tourist Office.