I’m incredibly bullish on Morocco’s tourism sector.
While visiting the country, I spoke with investors, entrepreneurs, local tour guides, and Airbnb hosts, and the proof is in the pudding: tourism is exploding.
I’m excited about the future of Morocco for three reasons:
1. Geography: Western travelers want to experience novelty without danger. They like cheap, exotic places that are safe and comfortable. Morocco is just that. The country was a French Protectorate until 1956, so French is spoken everywhere. Sitting at the Northwestern tip of Africa, right at the Strait of Gibraltar, it’s a stone’s throw (9 miles) from Spain. For Americans, the flight from New York to Casablanca is roughly as long as the flight from Miami to Seattle. The biggest geopolitical risk is that many travelers put Morocco in the same sentence as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, and when those countries experience political instability, tourism in Morocco suffers.
2. Vision 2020: Right now, agriculture is the biggest industry in Morocco, but the Moroccan government wants tourism to jump to #1. Tourism growth is a central component of Morocco’s “Vision 2020” initiative. The government wants to double the size of the tourism sector. Progress is already underway: the government has doubled the size of Marrakesh’s airport, expanded the airport in Fez by 500%, and built a new high-speed train from Tangier to Casablanca, which is the fastest train in Africa. The national airline is called Royal Air Maroc, and the government owns 100% of it. National airlines are powerful attractors for tourists. Iceland, Singapore, Qatar, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates have seen tremendous success with their national airlines. I expect Morocco to follow suit and further position itself as a gateway to Africa.
3. Instagram: The world is becoming more “imagistic.” Beautiful images are outstanding marketing tools, and Morocco is a country of stunning Instagrammable backdrops. It might be the most Instagram-friendly country I’ve ever visited. A couple years ago, a friend and I poured through his photos of Morocco’s Riads, and after seeing the photos, I was determined to visit. Then, before my trip, my sister asked if I was going to visit “the blue city.” Spoiler alert: I did. It’s called Chefchaouen. It’s the Jodhpur of Morocco, so it’s crazy Instagrammable. Like so many other parts of Morocco, it feels like a dream. It’s as if Morocco’s 19th-century kings anticipated the arrival of Instagram two centuries before it arrived.
If you have thoughts on Morocco, tourism, or if you know anybody who can point me in the right direction, please let me know.