Tourist Arrivals in Morocco up 8% in First Eight Months of 2018

Tourist Arrivals in Morocco up 8% in First Eight Months of 2018

The number of tourists visiting Morocco between January and August 2018 increased 8% to 8.7 million compared with the same period last year.

International tourist arrivals rose 14% while Moroccans living abroad visiting their homeland rose 2%, the tourism ministry said in its latest statistics.

Arrivals from main tourist emitting markets showed a 14% increase in Italian tourists, while the numbers of German grew by 10%.French and Dutch arrivals were up 7% and 6% respectively.

Tourism revenues in the first eight months of the year stood at $4.88 billion compared to $4.82 billion last year.

After closing 2017 with a record number of 11.35 million tourists, Morocco is aiming to attract 12 million tourists by end of 2018 and 15 million in 2020.

Tourism, which employs 2.5 million people, was worth an estimated 7% of GDP in 2017.

In another tourism-related development, Lonely Planet, a large Australian travel guide book publisher, just named the Moroccan city of Meknes as one of the top cities in the world to visit in 2019.

In its annual Best in Travel list, Lonely Planet notes that the mausoleum of Sultan Moulay Ismail emerges from a two-year, top-to-toe restoration, giving travellers more reason than ever to visit this under-appreciated imperial city.

The coastal Atlantic city of Essaouira had claimed a spot in the guide’s rankings in 2018.

Lonely Planet has just published a special feature on the modernization of some of Morocco’s medinas, as part of an ambitious project to preserve the country’s architectural and cultural heritage.

The medina (the old part of the city that’s enclosed by high walls) of Marrakesh, Essaouira, Salé, Meknes and Tetouan have been promised facelifts in a new multimillion-dollar project, said the author of the feature.

“Often the first image that pops into travellers’ minds when they think of Morocco, medinas are full of sinuous alleyways that snake past mosques, mausoleums, medersas (schools), hammams (bathhouses), local homes and lively souqs (markets),” the author of the feature stated.

The writer noted that “restoration is expected to be wrapped up by 2022, and it follows on a previous project to revitalize the medinas of the capital city Rabat and the cultural hub of Fez, which saw the reopening of ancient travellers’ inns called funduqs, now used as museum space and handicraft workshops, as well as the library at Kairaouine University, thought to be the oldest college in the world.”

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