As it seeks to diversify its tourist emitting markets, Morocco sees enormous opportunities in the Chinese market, which has 130 million tourists traveling abroad annually and spending generously. Morocco has therefore taken a series of incentives to attract 500,000 Chinese tourists by 2020 up from 10,000 in 2015.
Soon after the visa exemption decision was taken during King Mohammed VI’s visit to Beijing, the number of Chinese arrivals in Morocco grew 300% in the last quarter of 2016, standing at 40,000 tourists attracted mainly to the cities of Casablanca, Fez and Ouarzazate.
The tourism promotion office will reinforce its presence in China with the aim of adapting the Moroccan offer to the Chinese tourist market, said Morocco’s tourism minister Mohamed Sajid following talks with Chinese tourism officials in Beijing.
Reinforcing air links will be Morocco’s bridge to increase Chinese tourist arrivals, he said, noting that the national flag carrier, RAM, is planning to open flights to China.
Contacts have been made to explore the possibility for Chinese airlines to fly to Morocco in tandem with the rise of Chinese tourists visiting the Kingdom, he said.
Morocco tried to improve its connectivity with China through establishing partnerships with three key international airlines – Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines and Air France – with a view to increasing the number of regular flights connecting Chinese cities with Morocco’s prime tourist destinations.
Meeting the goal of attracting more Chinese tourists hinges on preparing Moroccan tourist professionals to be up to the expectations of Chinese tourists. In this respect, the tourism promotion office has also signed an agreement with the Confucius Center to train tourist guides to speak mandarin, he added, noting that Mandarin is taught at some Moroccan universities with graduates having prospects to work as tourist guides.
In January 2017, Morocco won the prize of “Best Potential Destination 2016” awarded by the Global Times Forum, an annual event held in Beijing by the leading English-speaking media outlet in China, the Global Times.
The Prize is awarded every year to the best destination on the basis of three criteria: visa procedure, tourist attraction rate and tourist satisfaction indicators.