BMI View: The Morocco tourism report examines a range of key indicators for the tourism market in this popular North Africa destination, including the prospects for growth in terms of inbound arrivals and outbound departures throughout our current forecast period to 2018. Benefiting from a stable political environment and increasing levels of foreign investment, we expect to see healthy growth in industry value and tourism - related expenditure as Morocco continues to attract greater numbers of visitors from a range of different markets.
Morocco benefits from its geographical proximity to key markets in Europe and its perception as a stable destination in a region where many countries have seen widespread political unrest, which has deterred potential visitors. The country is expected to welcome over 11mn visitors in 2015, up from 10.5mn in 2014. Europe is a major source for arrivals but Morocco is increasingly targeting affluent visitors from the Middle East - and Emirates recently expanded its flight routes into the country from the UAE. Throughout the remainder of the forecast period, we expect to see steady growth in arrivals, leading to an inbound tourism figure of 12.7mn in 2018.
The outbound tourism market from Morocco is relatively small, with only around 452,000 tourism departures expected from Morocco in 2015. Healthy domestic economic growth and increasing rates of private financial consumption mean that we do expect to see steady growth in the country's tourism market throughout to the forecast period to reach 577,000 departures in 2018. Most Moroccan tourists are headed to countries in North Africa and the Middle East - aided by the relative ease and affordability of regional travel.
Morocco's tourism market benefits from a relatively well-developed transport network, particularly in terms of air travel, which has been the focus of extensive government investment. Further development is needed in terms of the road and rail network, particularly in rural areas, in order to expand the reach of tourism spending throughout the country. The hotel and accommodation sector would also benefit from development in order to improve facilities and attract more high spend luxury travel visitors. Overall, however, Morocco is currently well placed to keep up with the expected increases in demand and we see a bright future for the country's tourism market.
Key developments and forecasts include:
Arrivals are expected to increase by around 5% a year to reach 12.7mn visitors a year by 2018, while the outbound travel will be much smaller at a forecasted 577,000 departures by the end of the forecast period.
Tourism-related expenditure will increase steadily, with transport and travel receipts forecast to reach USD12.3bn in 2018, up from USD10.2bn in 2015.
The government has announced the construction of a new airport in Marrakech with an expected project value of USD520mn.
Overall, Morocco is ranked eighth out of 15 countries on the BMI Tourism Risk/Reward Index for the Middle East and North Africa region with a tourism market score of 45.2 putting it ahead of Iran and just behind Jordan and Oman.
Key events in 2015 include the Marrakech Marathon, the Almond Blossom Festival, the Imilchil Marriage Festival, the Festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde and a range of other cultural, historical, sporting and music events.