“If there’s a place to go in the world today, it’s Morocco.” That was the message that Morocco’s minister of tourism, Wissal El Gharbaoui had for a select group of travel trade and business types during a meeting in Toronto yesterday (Feb. 4).
El Gharbaoui made it clear that Morocco was a good place to do business and that the climate for investing — particularly in tourism — in the country was right.
The minister told the Toronto meeting that Morocco was a “stable, open, democratic” country offering a healthy business environment, improved competitiveness in multiple sectors of its economy and which had seen 5% to 6% economic growth over the past decade.
“In a nutshell,” El Gharbaoui said, “Morocco has been growing.”
Tourism has been both a government priority and significant economic engine for Morocco, employing 500,000 people — a figure that the minister said the government wants to see grow to a million in short order.
El Gharbaoui also made it clear that Morocco wants to see not only its tourism arrivals grow significantly in the next few years (the target is 20 million), it also wants to increase the number of hotel beds available to visitors.
In growing its tourism business, the minister indicated that Morocco will be targeting Ontario for increases in both business and leisure traffic. During his visit to Canada, El Gharbaoui had been meeting with both travel agents and tours operators to see how the destination could work with them.
Currently, Morocco welcomes around 11,000 Canadians each year, but the minister said, “I think we can do much better,” and pointed to the historical connection between Canada and Morocco, along with the fact that Canadians know about the destination.
As a result, El Gharbaoui said that he’d like to see Morocco welcoming between 20,000 and 30,000 within the next two to three years.
“If there’s a place to go in the world today,” El Gharbaoui said, “it’s Morocco.”