Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has reaffirmed his strong commitment to tourism as one of Morocco’s top national priorities. In a meeting attended by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, on the occasion of the 10th Tourism Convention Day, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism set the stage for the official launch of Morocco’s ‘Tourism Development Strategy Vision 2020’ (Marrakesh, Morocco, 30 November).
In 2001, King Mohammed VI announced a new national tourism strategy for Morocco, ‘Vision 2010’, a long-term programme to trigger the sustainable and accelerated development of tourism. Since then, thanks to a range of strong tourism policies and actions including a well-structured product development strategy, the liberalization of air transport and increased promotional efforts, international tourism to Morocco has increased significantly.
International tourist arrivals grew almost two-fold in less than a decade and are expected to reach 9.3 million in 2010, while earnings from international tourism, a key export in the country, tripled in the same period. Moreover, in 2009, a challenging year for the tourism sector worldwide given the adverse global economic conditions, Morocco, as one of North Africa’s leading tourism destinations, was among the world’s top performers with arrivals up by 6%.
“Behind these figures, which clearly demonstrate the striking success of your political vision, lies an even more important reality: the creation of economic wealth and employment for the people of Morocco,” said Mr. Rifai in his address to King Mohammed VI. “The continuation of this policy with the ‘Vision 2020’ is an opportunity to consolidate the achievements of the last decade, consider the lessons learned, and continue maximizing tourism’s contribution to the prosperity of Morocco and its people”.
On the occasion, UNWTO, Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism and the National Hotel Industry Federation signed an agreement, outlining support for the entry into force of a new hotel classification system in Morocco.
The 10th edition of the Tourism Convention Day brought together some 1,000 national and international participants from the tourism sector to take stock of progress made so far and officially launch ‘Vision 2020’. This ambitious development strategy, designed to position tourism as a pillar of the national economy, has the full support of UNWTO and represents a new step in its long-standing relationship with Morocco, a UNWTO member since 1975.