Morocco continues to promote the country as a destination for Chinese tourists continue and so far the signs are positive with Chinese visitors showing a threefold increase in the last twelve months
For the first time The View From Fez has been registering several thousand visits a month from Chinese as potential tourists seek information about Morocco. At the same time, Russians and Scandinavians continue to visit the site in increasing numbers.
Marrakech is playing an active role in attracting Chinese tourists. The Regional Tourism Centre and the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) have just welcomed a delegation of about twenty travel agents from the Shanghai region as well as the Tour Operator (TO) China International Travel Service (CITS) for a discovery tour of the tourist attractions of Marrakech.
The number of Chinese visitors to Morocco has increased from 12,000 visitors in 2015 to 35,000 in 2016 and 80% of them opted for Marrakech. In the long term, Morocco aims to reach 100,000 Chinese visitors a year by 2018.
Morocco had cancelled visa requirements for Chinese nationals and developed new partnerships with airlines linking Morocco with the six largest Chinese cities, via the Doha and Abu Dhabi hubs (Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways).
Further promotion and communication activities targeting the Chinese tourism market are scheduled throughout 2017.
The number of Scandinavian tourists who visited Morocco in 2016 increased by 10 percent year on year, according to the delegation of the Moroccan Tourism Office (ONMT) in charge of Scandinavian and Baltic states.
Morocco World News reports that approximately 98,000 tourists from the Scandinavian region visited the Kingdom during the past year.
According to ONMT regional director Aziz Mnii, the number of tourists from Denmark increased by 27 percent, and that from Sweden and Norway rose by 6 percent, Mnii said, pointing out that nearly 87,000 Scandinavian nationals stayed in Morocco in 2015. This trend should continue in the year under way to reach more than 100,000 tourists, while they were only 50,000 to visit the Kingdom in 2009, he said.
In 2017, the ONMT also intends to “continue and strengthen” its digital communication by introducing new online content via “Visitmorocco.com,” which will be accessible in eleven languages starting January 2017. The office also took the initiative to invite several bloggers from different countries to discover Morocco, in hopes of the country building a good reputation on social media.
Meanwhile, air traffic at Mohammed V airport in Casablanca increased by 5.36% in 2016, compared to 2015.
According to statistics from the National Airports Office (ONDA), this increase is due to the number of passengers passing through the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca which amounted to 8,616,474 passengers in 2016 against 8,178,031 passengers during 2015.
With this growth, Mohammed V airport in Casablanca captured the lion's share of total passengers in the various airports of the Kingdom with a share of 47.27% during the twelve months of the previous year, followed by Marrakech-Menara with a share of 21.35%.
In another development Morocco and Chile have strengthened their ties. A twinning project between the cities of Fez and Coquimbo, located 460 kilometres north of the capital Santiago, is in the making.
The initiative was discussed on Thursday 19 January during a meeting between the new ambassador of Morocco in Santiago, Kenza Elghali, and the Mayor of Coquimbo, Marcelo Pereira Peralta.
"For several years, culture has been a subject of great interest in the agenda between the two countries ... Morocco and Chile can offer a model of high-quality cultural cooperation," said Marcelo Pereira Peralta.
|Ambassador of Morocco in Santiago, Kenza Elghali and the Mayor of Coquimbo, Marcelo Pereira Peralta|
While his city is home to the Mohammed VI Centre for the Dialogue of Civilisations, the local elected official said he is willing to sign a twinning agreement with the city of Fez, given the many similarities between the two cities.
For her part, Kenza Elghali said both sides will develop a roadmap to promote cultural and tourism relations with Coquimbo.
Inaugurated in 2007, the Mohammed VI Centre for the Dialogue of Civilisations aims to present Moroccan culture and civilisation to Chileans and foreign tourists. Working sessions to further promote the role of the centre are planned with the Ambassador of Morocco to Chile.