Thursday, August 04, 2016

Moroccan Summer - Tourism, Heatwaves and Burkini Bans

As we reported recently, tourism in Morocco is having a downturn,  (see story here) however the popular Minister for Tourism, Lahcen Haddad, is quick to point out that that overall progress is being made 

 In response to a question from the Socialist Group in the House of Councillors on "accompanying measures for the promotion of the tourism sector", the minister pointed out that the number of tourists who visited Morocco increased by 10% between 2010 and 2015 and that this period was marked by an increase of 31% of the bed capacity (241,000 beds) and the creation of 60,000 additional jobs in the tourism sector.

He also pointed out that the threshold of 10 million tourists per year was exceeded for the first time in 2013 (10.04 million tourists).

The minister noted that a decline in tourist flow and bookings rate was recorded during the period from January to October 2015, including French tourists compared to the same period of the previous year.

Haddad has rightfully attributed the decline to terrorist attacks in France Tunisia and Turkey.

The Russian Invasion!

Although it has not reached the same level as traditional source markets, the Russian tourism is becoming increasingly important in Morocco. Evidenced by the dramatic increase (+ 300%) in the number of overnight stays in Agadir.

Some 40,154 overnight stays were recorded in June against 10,021 overnight stays in the same period last year. In total, 4,792 arrivals have allowed Russia to be the third market in terms of nights after the Germans (42,137) and English (40,639), according to figures from the Regional Tourism Council. Moroccan tourist arrivals fell by 50% to stand at 19,666 in June 2016 due to Ramadan.

Tourist Warning - Heatwave is now official!

For tourists visiting a warning to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water. The advice follows a press release from National Directorate of Meteorology which says that this week's temperatures will vary between 42 and 46 degrees c, Zagora, Tata, Assa-Zag, Smara, Boujdour, Oued Ed-Dahab, Tan Tan, Guelmim, Sidi Ifni, and Taroudant.

During the same period, temperatures ranging from 38-42 degrees C are expected in provinces Aousserd, Chichaoua, Marrakech, Youssoufia, Rhamna, Kelâa Seraghna, Settat, Ben Fkih Saheh, Beni Mellal, Khouribga Khenifra, Khemissat, Fes, Moulay Yakoub, Sefrou, Taounat, Taza Guercif, Oujda, Figuig, Errachidia, and within provinces of Laayoune, Tarfaya Tiznit, Ait Baha Chtouka, Agadir and Essaouira.

From Saturday to Sunday, temperatures will rise to 42 and 45 degrees C in Zagora, Tata, Assa-Zag, Smara, Taroudant, Marrakech, Fkih Ben Saleh, and within provinces of Tantan and Guelmim.

During these two days, the forecasters expect temperatures of 39-42 degrees C in Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Taounate, Ouezzane, Moulay Yacoub, Fes, Sefrou, El Hajeb, Khemissat, Khenifra, Khouribga Settat, Ben Slimane, Rhamna, Kelâa Seraghna, Beni Mellal, Azilal, Youssoufia, Chichester, Errachidia, and within provinces of Larache, Kenitra, Safi, Essaouira, Agadir, Chtouka Ait Baha, Sidi Ifni, Boujdour and Oued Ed-Dahab.

Moreover, a strong wind to strong northern sector (50/70 KM / H), blow on the regions of Dakhla, Laayoune and Boujdour, Tuesday from 14h to midnight, the source said.

Burkini Blues ... again

This summer has also seen an increase in the number of hotels banning the wearing of the burkini in their swimming pools.

Almost all of them say the ban is a question of hygiene.

The latest burkini ban is at a swimming pool in a hotel in Marrakech which for "reasons of safety and hygiene" has demanded that women wishing to swim in the pool wear a normal swimsuit. The hotel has installed a sign prohibiting the burkini.

Last year, a pool in Casablanca pool banned the burkini. Other hotels and pools had also prohibited the "Islamic combination."

Hotel Ibis El Jadida and many hotels in Marrakech apply this prohibition. The Tamaris Aqua Park, located a few kilometres from Casablanca had also opposed the burkini officially for reasons related to hygiene.

And yet another controversy that Morocco visits every summer is that of beaches reserved for women.

Again this year a small group has started a Facebook campaign calling for female only beaches where they will not be harassed for wearing a bikini or normal swimsuits.

Beaches reserved for women in particular exist in the UAE, Turkey and the Republic of Dagestan. It is not expected that Morocco will join that small list anytime soon. Rather the general consensus is that it is more important is to educate conservative males that how their sisters dress is none of their business.


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