Morocco’s Tourism Recovers to 80%, Named in Top 10 Destinations for 2023

Morocco's tourism top destination

Morocco’s tourism industry continues to bounce back, reaching 80% of pre-COVID tourist numbers. The North African country is now being touted as one of the go-to destinations for 2023.

The government’s efforts to draw visitors back are finding success now that COVID-19 infections are down. 

The ability to apply for a Morocco visa online is another big factor in making it easier for foreign tourists to visit the nation.

According to Morocco’s Minister of Tourism, Handicrafts, and Social Economy Fatima Zahra Ammor, the country’s recovery rate is well above the global average of 70%. By the end of October 2022, Morocco’s tourism had recovered by 80%.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in Morocco

Like many countries, Morocco was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions and domestic measures like lockdowns slowed tourism to a halt for periods of 2020 and 2021.

Tourism is a hugely important sector of Morocco’s economy. It stands as the country’s second-biggest foreign exchange earner. 

Over 12 million tourists visited in 2019 before the pandemic began. This dropped to around 3 million in 2020. Revenue generated by tourism fell by more than half.

Since 2020, the tourism sector has been recovering, with more and more visitors returning to Morocco as time goes on. Even though travel trends for 2022 still include staycations, more people are starting to travel abroad again.

In June 2022 alone, Morocco received 3.4 million tourists — 4 times more than in June 2021.

Although this is still significantly lower than the number of visitors in June in the years preceding the pandemic, it is an encouraging sign.

If the trend continues, it is likely that Morocco will return to pre-COVID levels of tourism within the next year or two.

Government Initiatives to Support Morocco’s Tourism Recovery

The Moroccan government has made efforts to boost tourism and support recovery during a difficult few years.

MAD 2 billion (USD $186 million) was pledged to support the tourism sector.

The government spent a further MAD 1 billion ($93 million) on refurbishing and upgrading hotel units. Minister of Tourism, Handicrafts, and Social Economy Ammor has noted the positive impact this initiative has had on attracting more tourists.

The measures taken seem to be paying off. Internal tourism revenues in Morocco have increased, according to Ammor. The number of overnight stays in tourist accommodation have risen from 30% to 45% this year.

The Minister also stated that Morocco’s tourism revenues in foreign currency reached 103% that of 2019 by the end of September 2022, marking an actual increase from pre-COVID levels.

Morocco Named Top Destination for 2023

With the improvements made to the tourism sector and with COVID-19 cases falling, it is little wonder that more and more people are visiting Morocco. 

The country has also removed most of its travel restrictions. There are no requirements to be vaccinated or to take a COVID-19 test. All that travelers need to do to go to Morocco is fill out a Public Health Passenger Form online.

These may be factors in why Morocco has been named as one of the top destinations in the world for 2023.

Travel news outlet Travel Awaits listed Morocco in eighth place in its rankings of the most popular destinations for tours in 2023, beating the likes of Australia, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand, and the United States.

Morocco’s popularity as a destination is well-earned. The country is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites — a testament to the long history of the nation.

These sites include the medinas of Fez, Marrakech, Tétouan, and Essaouira; the modern capital and historic city of Rabat; and the ruins of Volubis, an ancient Roman city expanded upon by the Berbers.

Marrakech is one of the most popular cities for foreign visitors. There is no shortage of impressive landmarks, from the old city walls and gates to the many ornate mosques and palaces, such as the famous Koutoubia Mosque and Royal Palace of Marrakech (Dar el-Makhzen).

Tourists can explore souks, museums, and gardens and sample the best Moroccan cuisine. The city is known for making some of the most delicious tagine found anywhere.

Other popular destinations in Morocco include Casablanca, Tangier, and Fez.

Casablanca is the country’s largest city. Located on the Atlantic Coast, Casablanca is one of Morocco’s most bustling, international cities. It is home to the Hassan II Mosque — the second-largest on the African continent, which has the second-tallest minaret in the world (656 feet).

Fez used to be the capital of Morocco and is still seen as the spiritual and cultural heart of the nation. Known for its Moorish and Moroccan architecture, two old medina quarters, and the world’s oldest and possibly largest urban pedestrianized zone, Fez is a fascinating place to visit. It has been dubbed the “Athens of Africa” and “Mecca of the West”. 

These are just some of the many reasons why tourists are flocking back to Morocco and why it stands to be one of the go-to countries for holidaymakers in 2023.

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