Morocco Explores New Markets to Boost Stagnant Tourism

  • 2017-02-27
  • Arab News

Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and the country’s second biggest employer, after agriculture. The sector accounts for 10 percent of national income and, along with exports and remittances from Moroccans overseas, it is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency.

Marrakesh, with its UNESCO-listed old town and the coastal town of Agadir have long been key attractions. They remain popular — in contrast to Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt, where visitor numbers have plummeted following the Arab Spring uprisings and repeated terrorist attacks. Morocco has not experienced an attack since a 2011 bombing in Marrakesh’s famed Jamaa El Fna Square, which killed 17 people, mainly European tourists.

Today, security forces stand guard at Morocco’s main tourist sites. The government, a key security partner of European countries, regularly announces it has dismantled terrorist cells. But while the kingdom remains safer than other countries in the region, visitor numbers have stubbornly refused to rise.