To protect tourism industry from unfair competitors, the Moroccan authorities warned local travel agencies against hiring unlicensed Chinese guides and threatened to remove their names from the list of accredited agencies if they do not abide by the regulations.
“All Moroccan travel agencies should designate a certified Moroccan tourist guide to accompany groups of Chinese tourists during their visits to historical sites and monuments”, said the Moroccan tourism Department in a letter addressed to the managers of travel agencies.
In case they could not find an official Moroccan Chinese-speaking tour guide, the travel agencies can call in an interpreter to translate the explanations of the guide accompanying the Chinese tourists, underlined the document.
“Those who do not comply with the regulations will be scrapped off the list of accredited travel agencies for inbound Chinese tourism”, warned the ministerial notice.
Moroccan travel agents complain about the unfair competition from Chinese guides, while the law requires an official guide to hold Moroccan nationality to operate in the Kingdom.
The phenomenon of false Chinese guides was brought up by Moroccan media last Summer.
“Every day, Chinese people arrive in Morocco as tourists, take two months of French lessons and then start practicing. ,” revealed by the LesEcos website had then revealed. The media added the practice is no longer a secret as agencies openly offer their service catalogs on Chinese websites.
This phenomenon is undermining Moroccan guides , especially that a growing number of them perfectly master the Chinese language, studied in Chinese universities or in Chinese institutes in Morocco.
According to the media, some of the Chinese false guide are illegally settled in Morocco, while others take care to leave the territory every three months (in Tunisia) to re-enter the country as tourists.
Besides, these false Chinese guides convey false information about Moroccan culture and society and sometimes even denigrate the country.
In 2016, Moroccan authorities decided to exempt Chinese nationals from visa requirements in a bid to bolster tourist arrivals. Two years later, 180000 Chinese tourists visited the North African Kingdom. Before the visa waiver program, the country used to receive around 20,000 Chinese tourists per annum. Chinese Tour operator C Trip had pledged to bring annually 500000 Chinese tourists to Morocco.
Tourism industry employs in Morocco more than 2.5 million people and contributes about 7 pc to the country’s national GDP. The sector helps to promote economic and social growth, by generating income and creating jobs.