Investing in quality

March 08, 2012

Morocco gets smarter

Hotel stock upgraded as German visitors switch from other North African destinations

by Paul Needham
Marrakesh excess: Four luxury hotels opened in the city in 2011 and four more will open their doors this year.
Foto: iStockphoto

Morocco is investing in quality this year as it seeks to profit from good growth in 2011 despite the various conflicts in North Africa. The country will open more luxury hotels as part of its long-term Vision 2020 tourism plan. Vision 2020 calls for Morocco to focus strongly on diversifying its tourism offering. It aims to double the number of international tourists visiting the country, making it one of the top 20 destinations worldwide.

Nearly 9.4 million foreign visitors came to Morocco last year. They spent 5.2 billion euros, four per cent more than the previous year. The destination is also becoming more popular with Germans as an alternative to other North African destinations. German tourists increased by seven per cent to nearly 220,000 in 2011.

“The mixture of sustainability, socio-cultural authenticity and luxury is succeeding in drawing more tourists, especially from Germany,” said Hatim El Gharbi, Germany director of the Moroccan Tourist Board.

New luxury hotels amounting to 200,000 extra beds will open by the end of this decade. Five luxury properties opened their doors last year: four in Marrakesh and one in Agadir. Five more hotels will open this spring, again comprising four in Marrakesh and one in Agadir. The new properties in Agadir include a Sofitel.

Morocco is also promoting golf this year, championing attractive and historic courses on its Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines and at inland locations.

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