The 6th annual Global Times Forum held recently in Beijing showed that Morocco's wooing of the Chinese tourists is paying dividends. Morocco has been named “Best Potential Destination” by the influential Chinese daily Global Times, ahead of France or Thailand
Moroccan tourist authorities hope that the award will attract larger numbers of Chinese tourist to the Kingdom.
According to the Moroccan Office of Tourism (ONMT) the “Best Potential Destination” prize is awarded each year and takes into consideration the ease of visa procedures, the numbers of tourists and Chinese tourists’ satisfaction, with the destination.
The big factor in the increase in Chinese tourists was the decision by King Mohammed VI to abolish visas between the two countries. As a result 42,000 Chinese tourists visited Morocco in 2016, an increase of 300%.
By the end of November 2016 arrivals from China increased sixfold following the decision to eliminate a visa requirement for Chinese tourists, despite the lack of a direct flight between the two countries.
Morocco World News reports that before the elimination of the visa, Morocco only received between 800 to 1,000 Chinese tourists monthly. In contrast, in 2016, 6,000 to 7,000 Chinese tourists visited Morocco per month, totalling 80,000. Morocco hopes to increase visits from Chinese tourists to 100,000 in 2017.
Chinese visitors to The View From Fez are increasing every month, searching for background information on Morocco. They now (surprisingly) rank in the top ten countries visiting The View From Fez! For their benefit we offer a few basics.
Getting to Morocco
There is no direct flight between China and Morocco. You can fly from Beijing to Doha, Dubai, Paris, Istanbul, Cairo, London, or Amsterdam, then transfer to a flight to Casablanca. There is a small airport in Rabat, which is used for both civil and military operations. Visitors usually get to Rabat from Casablanca, where the country's busiest airport is located, by train, minibus, cars or taxis.
The dirham is the Moroccan currency which you can purchase with dollars or euros at the local airports or banks. The Chinese yuan cannot be exchanged for dirham at local banks. Dollars and euros are also acceptable at big hotels and restaurants. Remember to convert dirham back to dollars or euros at local banks if you leave the country through Casablanca airport because there is no currency exchange service after you go through airport security.
French is a very useful language in Morocco and the second most widely spoken language after Arabic. Increasingly, well-educated young people can also speak good English.