MOROCCO’S participation for the fifth time at the MTF this year has turned out to be more interesting this time, says director for Middle East and Asia Taibi Khattab, who said the country expects a significant increase in the number of GCC visitors this year.
“Our participation this year has been a major success. We had many meetings with agents and trade visitors and there was good response,” he told TTN. “Morocco is one of the major tourist destinations south of the Mediterranean. We are only 13km from Europe. The country offers an excellent mixture of both Arabic and the Mediterranean.”
The country has two major aims at MTF, says Khattab. "One was for the local market in Egypt. The MTF provided a good forum to meet travel agents and key tourism people to develop tourism from Egypt to Morocco. We got a great response from the Egypt market. We are expecting a 15 per cent rise in tourists from Egypt. They like Morocco because it is different from other Arabic countries.”
The second project was to target travel agents from the Middle East like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya and Lebanon. “We met a lot of people from the trade in this regard. We received huge interest from Libya this year," he said.
A new advertising campaign has also been launched for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market, says Khattab.
"This will cover the main GCC market. It will continue for three years," said Khattab. “We are focusing on family tourism. Morocco is very special for the Arabs. Culturally, we are the only Arabic country which has Andalusian heritage. We have conserved and maintained our heritage. We have also been safe from other influences. This has proved very appealing to GCC visitors.”
The diversity of nature, the landscape and three different climates is also a major draw, said Khattab. “The mountains have snow in the winter and this means that we can offer skiing to the tourists. There are lots of forests, which means lots of greenery, lots of water with rivers and lakes. It is like paradise for Arab tourists. Geography, culture and modernity is offered to the Arabs,” he said.
The transport system is also very good, particularly the trains which are liked by the Arabs, said Khattab.
“Morocco is investing lots of money in tourism and we are getting returns,” he said. “We are getting lots of investments from the GCC, particularly the UAE. Huge resorts are being built to attract visitors. We are expecting 20 per cent more visitors from the GCC this year.”
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