Monday, August 08, 2016

Morocco - a Safer Destination than France

While Morocco is still suffering a slow down in tourist arrivals with only 3.48 million visitors in the first five months of 2016,spare a thought for France. While often described as "the first tourist destination of the world", tourism in France is slowing. According to Matthias Fekl, French Secretary of State in charge of promoting tourism, international tourist arrivals in France have plummeted 10% since the beginning of the year

Paris is being avoided by many tourists

"The number of international overnight stays fell by an average of 10% in the first six months of the year," said Fekl, adding that Paris and the Ile-de -France were the most more affected areas. Yet, other areas are suffering after the attacks.

An interesting observation is that customers with high purchasing power, such as those from the United States, Asia and the Gulf, were the ones most fearful after recent attacks reacted strongly to the attacks. Chinese interest in France, in particular, has been on the wane. France issued just 320,000 visas in China in the first six months of this year, a drop of 15 per cent from the same time in 2015, according to the French ­embassy in Beijing.

Even more Chinese tourists will be deterred from once must-see destinations by the killings in Nice on July 14, the Munich shooting last week and the knife attack in Normandy this week, ­analysts and travel agents say.

International flight bookings to Nice dropped 57 percent compared with the previous year from the date of the attack to July 23, while planned arrivals this month and in September were down by about a fifth for France as a whole

"Upscale hotels are suffering more. Fortunately, 80% of visitors are Europeans who maintain their holidays," said the secretary of state, noting that despite the Brexit, the British have not canceled their visits.

This year Chirac chose Morocco

It is hoped that many of the 85 million visitors who would normally choose France for a holiday will now select more secure destinations such as Morocco.

The trend has started with an increase in French backpackers and mid-range tourists. There have also been several high profile arrivals from France.

 The terrace of Les Blancs - a Chirac favourite

The former French president, Jacques Chirac normally holidays in Saint-Tropez, but this year he took his private jet and flew into Agadir. This is not his first trip and in previous years he was seen taking coffee at La Madrague or on the terrace of Les Blancs, located in the marina of Agadir.  He and his wife Bernadette, often spend Christmas in Taroudant (700 km south of Rabat) where they have a private residence.


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