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Morocco hails record tourist numbers for 2023

Tourists stroll through Jemma el Fna Square in Marrakech just days after an earthquake struck Morocco Guillaume Pinon/Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect
Tourists stroll through Jemma el Fna Square in Marrakech just days after an earthquake struck Morocco
  • 34% increase on 2022
  • ‘Surpassed expectations’
  • Tourist revenue $9.6bn

Morocco welcomed a record-breaking 14.5 million tourists in 2023, despite a devastating earthquake that rocked the country.

The number of inbound tourists was up 34 percent on 2022 and an increase of 12 percent on pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

December alone had 1.3 million tourist arrivals, despite a tough economic climate and turbulent geopolitical times.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts and Social and Solidarity Economy said in a statement that the figures had “surpassed expectations”.

Half of all arrivals were Moroccans living abroad, the Ministry said.

The country suffered an earthquake in September near the town of Ighil and the Oukaïmeden ski resort in the Atlas Mountains, which killed more than 3,000 people and destroyed infrastructure.

Revenues from tourism totalled $9.8 billion from January to November in 2023, up 15.8 percent year on year, according to data from the Office des Changes, the Moroccan foreign exchange regulator. 

In March last year Morocco announced a $580 million plan to boost the tourism sector, to attract 17.5 million tourists by 2026, with the launch of new airline routes. 

It hopes to increase that number to 26 million by 2030, when the country co-hosts the World Cup alongside Spain and Portugal.

The Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair’s summer programme includes more than 1,100 weekly flights on 175 routes in the North African country, including 35 new routes, 24 international and 11 domestic.

The latest World Bank report predicted that Morocco’s real GDP growth would be 3.1 percent in 2024, 3.3 percent in 2025 and 3.5 percent in 2026, as domestic demand gradually recovers from recent shocks.

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