Firmly cemented as a travel favourite, Morocco is currently working hard to further evolve its tourism product by implementing the points of its Vision 2020 and responding to the changing desires of an expanding visitor market. Emily Millett writes.
With its Vision 2020 clearly laid out, which aims to double the size of the tourism sector in the next three years, Morocco is planning for a bigger and better tourism future. And thanks to a rich and diverse tourism offering, currently in a state of constant evolution, the destination is well on its way to attracting the necessary new markets needed to help catlyse the growth.
“Morocco has always been considered a trendy destination, thanks to its great assets, in terms of its geographical position and warmer climate,” said general manager, Amanjena, Nicolas Ilickovic. “Today, Marrakech competes with world-renowned destinations in terms of quality of service.”
According to the Vision 2020, eight new tourism destinations are set to emerge in Morocco, as well as an additional 200,000 new beds. The plans of Vision 2020, have been laid out in a way that will highlight all different segments of the tourism sector, across all regions of the Kingdom.
Speaking to TTG about the diversity available, managing director, Liberty International Morocco, Nezha Amrani said: “All types of tourists are visiting morocco nowadays, thanks to what the destination can offer in terms of landscape diversity and infrastructure. We have clients asking for culture tours, while others prefer to ski, ride or hike and explore the desert and the wildlife. We also see an increasing popularity for wellness, golf and nightlife tourism, as well as interest from companies that want to launch a product or celebrate an anniversary.”
In line with the consistent pace of development being seen in Morocco, the destination is also in tune with another major trend currently influencing the travel industry, as general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, Olivier Thomas explained: “With Morocco on the fast track towards development, the country is seeing an increasing number of affluent international leisure and business travellers who are looking for unparalleled experiences.”
Meanwhile, destination management company, Liberty International Morocco, is also noticing an increase in travellers seeking a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the country.
“Our guests want to travel with intelligent, like-minded people who share a passion for meaningful travel, with highly-experienced and cultured guides,” Amrani told TTG. “We aim to please and create the most unique itineraries available, and we offer unique experiences that no one else can. Whether you’re staying at a five-star hotel, in an exclusive location in the middle of nowhere or even camping in the Sahara Desert, you can expect a seamless tailor-made itinerary.”
Focusing on this evolving demand, next year La Sultana Marrakech will drive the customer journey beyond the hotel, as travellers continue to seek authentic travel experiences.
“We’ve been working with local partners to develop packages that combine exciting adventure days and traditional activities, that are within easy reach from both our Oualidia and Marrakech residencies,” Zkhiri explained to TTG.
At La Sultana Oualidia, this will include surfing and wellness breaks, as well as nature-inspired seasonal packages, such as the Wildlife Safari tour – all launching in early 2017. At La Sultana Marrakech, guests will be encouraged to explore beyond the city, with a selection of new cycling trips across the Atlas Mountains currently being developed.
Unique and experiential opportunities abound at Kasbah Tamadot – Virgin Limited Edition’s high-end hideaway, tucked into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
According to sales manager, Virgin Limited Edition, Alice Cunningham, the property offers unique accommodation, in individually designed rooms and recently refurbished traditional Berber tents. Guests seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience can travel to nearby villages, meet with local communities and visit off-the-beaten track authentic Moroccan markets.
Morocco is not only closely listening to what today’s traveller wants and responding with new initiatives and developments, it is also opening up to new markets this year. “Morocco is becoming a ‘hub’ between Europe, the Middle East and Africa, therefore, many nationalities are visiting the country for different purposes,” said general manager, Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Laurent Ebzant.
“For leisure, Marrakech, Agadir, Tangier, Essaouira, Fez are proving to be more popular for leisure travel, while for business, Casablanca and Rabat are more suited to the corporate and transient individuals and groups. Casablanca is the economical centre of Morocco and Rabat is the administrative Capital.”
According to Ebzant, business tourism is showing no signs of slowing down in Morocco, with conferences and events still strong and representing an important area for further growth.
“Another trend noticed is the increasing amount of business and leisure travellers coming from both Far East Asia (China) and Sub-Saharian countries,” commented Ebzant.
And thanks to its convenient location some three hours from Europe, the continent has long been a prime market for Morocco, although the Middle East is also proving itself as a key emerging feeder market, as general manager, Amanjena, Nicolas Ilickovic told TTG: “Among the other key markets of Marrakech are the Middle East and US. Many promotional efforts are being undertaken to attract visitors from Asia which is a major opportunity for Amanjena, since Aman’s first market share is Asia.”
On its way to reaching its goal of doubling the sector by 2020, Morocco is undergoing great changes and developments within its tourism industry, as the destination opens up to new markets and new travel trends in 2017.