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Morocco source doc by sdsdfqw21

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									Investment Property Hotspots




                                          MOROCCO
                                        Why invest in the Kingdom of Morocco?
Region:
North Africa

Capital:
Rabat 1

Language:
Arabic

Currency:
Moroccan Dirham, MAD

Land Mass:
446,550 sq km

Population:
31 million

Ethnicity:
55% Arab, 44% Berber, 0.7% foreigners

  Fact
  • The Kingdom of Morocco is the most westerly of the North African countries
    with a coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into
    the Mediterranean Sea.




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  • Approximately the same size as France, and only 3.5 hours flight from UK, Mo-
    rocco is one of the closest exotic holiday destinations. Morocco’s capital city is
    Rabat; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca, however the most popular
    tourist destination is Marrakech.

  • The official language in Morocco is Arabic, but French and English are widely
    spoken. Moroccan culture is famous across the world and has its roots in its
    ethnically diverse heritage.

  • Morocco’s rich history can still be seen today with the lively souks and markets
    in evidence. Along with the exotic architecture and friendly locals, culture has
    been the primary draw for new and repeat tourists.

    Inspired by its southern desert many people have developed a stereotype of Morocco’s scenery
and landscape. Tourists and property purchasers are often surprised when they disembark on Mo-
rocco’s northern shore to be greeted by green rolling hills, trees and shrubs looking more like Scot-
land than North Africa.
   Morocco has an abundance of beautiful golden sandy beaches, many deserted and totally
unspoiled.They stretch for hundreds of miles around the country’s coastline.
     Morocco is developing very quickly into a modern country, which means that large supermarkets
are located in most major towns.
On the other hand, those who enjoy the hustle and bustle of the traditional medina will take delight in
haggling over every last dirham for the best possible bargain on fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, pottery,
clothes or shoes. Everything is available at a good price – but remember to haggle for a bargain.
It is customary for the vendor to ask for an inflated price when first discussing an article. It would be
frowned upon to pay the first price asked of you. The joy of shopping in Morocco is the joy of bargain-
ing. You should reasonably expect to obtain the item for around 40% less than the original asking
price.



Culture
    The almost medieval-like hustle and bustle of Morocco is for most travelers a world away from
their own cities and towns. The culture and people are usually so completely different from what they
know that they often find themselves in situations to which they have no idea how to react. The fol-
lowing brief explanation of Moroccan art and culture is designed to help you get the most out of your
stay in this amazing country.

Moroccan culture is unique blend of African, Muslim and European. It's an ancient culture that's slowly
embracing modern western values. The women are still treated very much in the Muslim style, but
this is slowly changing because of increasing European influence.

      This is a completely different culture to what you'd find in Europe. Although, initially
 the people might seem hard to get to know, if you're open minded, friendly and courteous
 you'll soon start to make friends with the locals.


      You might even be invited in for a meal. If this happens, it's a good idea to respect
 the local customs; you are normally expected to take your shoes off before entering a Mo-
 roccan house. Also, bringing a gift will is considered normal and is always a nice gesture
 anyway.


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     In the city, people often bring some kind of pastries or sugar as gifts, whereas in the
 countryside, they often bring a live chicken as a gift.

       Being invited into a Moroccan’s home is one of the best way to sample real Moroccan
 cuisine. In Morocco they eat with their hands. This is perfectly normal here. You must eat
 only with your right hand though, as the left hand should be used for the toilet.

      Unfortunately, most visitors are not allowed into the mosques. Moroccan mosques
 are considered very holy places and only Muslims are allowed access to them. Strangely,
 in other parts of the world entering a mosque is not normally a problem. Having said that,
 you can always visit mosques that are disused or are in ruin like Tin Mal and Smara.


      Although, Morocco is a very religious country, culturally speaking, it's considered to
 be the least Arabic amongst other Arab countries. Most of the population is in fact, of Ber-
 ber origin.

Language
    Classical Arabic is Morocco's official language, but the country's distinctive Arabic dialect is the
most widely spoken language in Morocco. In addition, about 10 million Moroccans, mostly in rural
areas, speak Berber--which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhit, and
Tamazight)--either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. French, which re-
mains Morocco's unofficial third language, is taught universally and still serves as Morocco's primary
language of commerce and economics; it also is widely used in education and government. Many Mo-
roccans in the northern part of the country speak Spanish. English is rapidly becoming the foreign
language of choice among educated youth. English is taught in all public schools from the fourth year
on.
Currency
    The Moroccan unit of currency is the dirham which is divided into 100 centimes. There are ATM's
throughout Morocco in all of the major cities and most towns. Credit cards are accepted at most of
the higher end hotels, restaurants and shops. You can change money and traveler checks at all major
banks, bureau de change and some hotels.



Politics

Major Political Players

                                                                                    ,
       King Mohammed VI: With Morocco's constitution giving him significant power the king has
pledged to make the political system more open, allow more freedom of expression, and support
economic reform and regional decentralisation. A popular figure, he has also advocated giving more
rights to women, which has been unpopular with Islamists.

                                               ,
     Driss Jettou: Currently the prime minister he is also a successful businessman in his own right
known for his negotiating skills. He has been given a mandate for rapid economic and social change
by the reform-minded king. Jettou was interior minister in the previous government. Liked by the
business community, his appointment was criticised by some as he is not an elected deputy, but a
royal appointee.

    Mohammed Rachidi Chraibi: The king's top advisor and head of his parallel cabinet. Chraibi is also
a former classmate of King Mohammed.

    Officially described in the 1996 constitution as a democratic monarchy, Morocco's hereditary
                                  .
monarch has wide executive power He can dismiss the government, dissolve parliament and sign

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international treaties. He also appoints regional governors and heads a "second cabinet" composed of
former politicians, business leaders and army chiefs. This runs in parallel to the government and is
widely known as the focal point for the Makhzen, the popular name given to the Moroccan establish-
ment.

     In 1997, a bicameral legislature was established, consisting of a 270-seat upper house or Cham-
ber of Councillors, whose members are elected by an electoral college for nine-year terms. One-third
of the members are renewed every three years. The lower house is the 325-seat Chamber of Repre-
sentatives, members of which are elected by popular vote for five-year terms.

                                                      ,
     The government is headed by the prime minister who is appointed by the monarch following leg-
                                                                    ,
islative elections. The king also appoints the ministers of interior foreign affairs, justice and Islamic
affairs - often from outside party politics. The prime minister heads a 31-member cabinet known as
the Council of Ministers, yet many of its appointments are made by the king rather than the prime
minister himself.

     Some 26 political parties ran in the September 27, 2002, legislative elections, which were widely
hailed as the first truly democratic ballot in Morocco's history. Four main political blocs were evident.
The leftist bloc includes the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP); the former-communist Party for
Progress and Socialism (PPS), led by Ismail Alaoui; the Leftist Unified Socialist Party (PGSU), led by
Mohamed Bensaid Ait Idder; and the Socialist Democratic Party (PSD), led by Aissa Ouardighi.

    On the centre-right is the moderate Islamist wing, there is the Istiqlal Party (PI), led by the vet-
eran Abbes el-Fassi and the moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD), led by Ab-
delkrim Khatib. More conservative still is the National Rally of Independents (RNI), led by Ahmed
Osman, and the Constitutional Union (UC), led by Mohamed Abied.

    Elsewhere, the pro-Berber parties include the Popular Movement (MP), led by Mohand Laenser;
the National Popular Movement (MNP), led by Mahjoubi Aherdane; and the Social Democratic Move-
ment (MDS), led by Mohamed Archane.

     The September 27, 2002, ballot saw a number of innovations to the electoral system, including
proportional representation in voting and a 10% reserved list for women candidates.

     The ballot also saw a low turnout of 52%. More hardcore Islamist parties, such as Abdessalam
Yassine's al-Adl wa al-Ihsana (Justice and Charity) party, called for a boycott. Justice and Charity is
currently banned. There was also much fragmentation in the vote, with 22 parties out of the 26
claiming at least one seat.

      The new government appointed by the King was formed with the USFP and PI as the main enti-
ties. Alongside them in the ruling coalition are five other parties, the socialist PPS, the nationalist PI,
                                                               .
the centrist RNI and two Berber parties, the MNP and the MP The moderate Islamist PJD, which treb-
led its vote to become the country's third largest political grouping, now forms the main parliamen-
tary opposition.

    Continuity is the keyword with the new government, since the USFP have been the ruling party
before and three key ministers from the last government have also kept their seats. Mohamed
Benaissa remains minister for foreign affairs, Fatallah Oualalou continues as finance minister and Mo-
hamed El-Yazghi retains the post responsible for territorial development.



People
                                   ,
     A rich mixture of Arab, Berber European and African influences and peoples has lead to a
uniquely cosmopolitan demographic which naturally welcomes and nourishes new arrivals from any
part of the world. As such, the Moroccan people are renowned for their friendly, welcoming attitude




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which is strongly prevalent in all areas. Even on a first visit to Morocco, one cannot help but be struck
by the sensation of homecoming and the warmth of this fabulous people.
     In Morocco it’s impossible not to make friends, although when you do, you’ll be in for a shock.
What may seem like a casual invitation for dinner to be accepted graciously will often develop into an
unforgettable experience. A Moroccan family’s home is their inner sanctum, whatever impression you
may have of a simple whitewashed exterior will be totally blown away when you are fortunate
enough to enter the home of a Moroccan family. Having been ushered through a large pair of oak
doors, into an interior courtyard, you will then be shown into the main living area.
This is usually a large room bursting with colour – ornate tapestries decorating the walls, hand crafted
sofas low down on the floor strewn with soft cushions and rugs.
     A feast of colour and taste will be laid out in front of you and it will be considered very impolite
not to each huge portions of over 10 courses of the finest food you’ve ever tasted. You’ll love the chal-
lenge of reciprocating!
     The above example is based on real life events and is a microcosm of the general attitude and
culture of the Moroccan people. It may take many years to gain a full understanding of the ways of
the country, but every moment will be truly fulfilling.
When you greet an old friend in Morocco everything starts with a handshake, followed by at least 30
seconds of pleasantries – usually in the form of a string of questions which do not require any an-
swer! It is then customary to touch your heart with your right hand (arm across the chest). If this
gesture is made to you, consider yourself truly honoured.
     When greeting a group of people, it is customary to shake hands with the person furthest to the
right and work your way around the group from right to left.
Interestingly enough, these customs are simply forms of politeness. It is not necessary to follow them
and no offence will be caused if you don’t – but if you do, you may just be rewarded by a heartwarm-
ing smile



Cuisine
    Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world.
The reason is because of the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. The cuisine
                                   ,
of Morocco is a mix of Arab, Berber Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean African and Jewish influ-
ences. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fez, Meknes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tetouan refined Moroc-
can cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.

     Being at the crossroads of many civilizations, the cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by the
native Berber cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine; brought by the Moriscos when they left Spain,
the Turkish cuisine from the Turkish and the Middle Eastern cuisines brought by the Arabs as well as
the Jewish cuisine.

     The history of Morocco is reflected in its cuisine. Political refugees left Baghdad in the Middle Ages
and settled in Morocco, bringing with them traditional recipes that are now common in Morocco but
forgotten in the Middle East. We know this because there are striking similarities between a 12th cen-
tury (Common Era) collection of recipes by Al-Baghdadi, and contemporary Moroccan dishes. A sig-
nature characteristic is cooking fruit with meat like quince with lamb or apricots with chicken. Further
influences upon Moroccan cuisine came from the Morisco (Muslim refugees) who were expelled from
Spain during the Spanish inquisition.

    According to Paula Wolfert, the specialist of Moroccan cuisine and author of a renowned book on
the subject :

“
To my mind four things are necessary before a nation can develop a great cuisine. The first is an
abundance of fine ingredients, a rich land. The second is a variety of cultural influences: the history of
the nation, including its domination by foreign powers, and the culinary secrets it has brought back
from its own imperialist adventures. Third, a great civilization, if a country has not had its day in the


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sun, its cuisine will probably not be great; great food and a great civilization go together. Last, the
existence of a refined palace life, without royal kitchens, without a Versailles or a Forbidden City in
Peking, without, in short, the demands of a cultivated court, the imaginations of a nation's cooks will
not be challenged. Morocco, fortunately, is blessed with all four.
                                                                                                          ”
     Morocco produces a large range of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables and even some tropical
ones. The country produces large quantities of sheep, cattle, poultry, and seafood which serve as a
base for the cuisine.


    Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for
thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and
oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Common spices include karfa (cinnamon), kamoun
(cumin), kharkoum (tumeric), skingbir (ginger), libzar (pepper) , tahmira (paprika), anis seed, ses-
ame seed, kasbour (coriander), maadnous (parsley), zaafrane beldi (saffron) and mint.

Climate
• Temperatures on the North Coast may reach 35 degrees centigrade

• The summer months, however a comfortable average of 20 degrees

• Climate pleasant all year round


Economy

     In recent years, the Moroccan economy has experienced very encouraging growth. GDP growth
in 2004 stood at 4.4%. Morocco’s currency (The Dirham) has appreciated by 18% since 1990. On top
of this, by 2010 Morocco expects to become part of the Euro-Med free trade zone and working to-
wards a close relation with the EU, a significant development which will undoubtedly boost the econ-
omy further still. As an important element of the national development plan of 'Vision 2010', the chief
economic objective is to establish a close relationship with the European Union.
     With the aid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an economic reform programme, Mo-
rocco has managed to restrict government spending. Today, employment remains mainly within the
                            ,
volatile agricultural sector but over the long term Morocco will have to move its economy away from
agriculture and develop a more stable economic basis for its growth. One area is in the growing tour-
ism market, where significant amounts of employment are being created in the construction and
service sectors which will later be transferred to the tourism sector.
    Morocco has held inflation rates to industrial country averages over the past decade due to a for-
eign exchange rate anchor and well-managed monetary policy. Inflation in 2005 was at 2.5%. The
country maintains a current account surplus and foreign exchange reserves are strong, amounting to
around $15 billion.
     In 2005 the Moroccan Government secured a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the USA. The
U.S.- Morocco FTA is the second in the Arab world and the first to be made in Africa. It immediately
eliminated tariffs on 95% of US trade in consumer and industrial products. Further FTA reforms and
liberalization are currently underway.




Reasons to Invest in Morocco
  • ‘Marrakech is to Morocco what Dubai is to the UAE’


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  • One of the most exciting factors about this new investment hotspot is the com-
    parables with the UAE 4 years ago.

  • Off-plan properties bought 4 years ago in the UAE for £50,000 are now worth in
    excess of £120,000.

  • Highlighting the huge development prospects in Morocco, the UAE’s largest
    property developer Emaar has stated they are to strengthen their position in
    this new market place, investing over AED23.5 billion (£3.3billion) into Morocco
    and opening headquarters in Marrakech.

     Morocco is already making a name for itself as a new property investment hotspot. Morocco´s
luxurious property developments are generally accepted to be of the highest standards available and
very competitive prices allow Morocco to boast top quality property in 5 star luxury resorts for a frac-
tion of the price of far less caliber property elsewhere.
     Morocco has attracted a great deal of media coverage with a large number of the world’s
wealthy. Richard Branson, Mick Jagger and even David Beckham have all purchased property in Mo-
rocco. Widely tipped to become the next elite holiday destination, Morocco property offers to the rest
of us similar style to Puerto Banus, Monaco or St. Tropez at significantly lower prices.



  Morocco investment facts;
    •   Large Scale government investment to develop the tourism market

    •   Rapidly improving infrastructure and transport network.

    •   Fast Growing Tourism market, attracting 6.5 million foreign tourists in 2006
          (12% increase).

    •   Politically stable, with a liberal, forward thinking leader

    •   Strong economy with 7.6 % GDP growth in 2006

    •   25% capital gain in 2006

    •   Stable currency pegged to the €uro

    •   Low Inflation of 2.0% in 2006.

    •   Attracted just under $3bilion (£1.65 billion)Foreign Direct Investment in
          2005

    •   Large scale investment from UAE developers

    •   Named number 1 at this year's Arabian Hotel Investment Conference
          (AHIC) for ‘the potential to be the next Spain’ in terms of tourism devel-
          opment and revenue.

    •   Mediterranean climate – hot summers, mild winters

    •   Low Cost of living.



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    •   Tourism on the rise - Tourist trade expected to double by 2010 to 10million
                          ,
           visitors a year under government proposals known as Vision 2010 and
                    .
           Plan Azur Infrastructure and resources are receiving much investment
           and undergoing huge improvement.

    •   Travel - Direct flights from the UK (approx 3 hours), with several interna-
           tional airports located within a short drive to resorts.

    •   Weather - Morocco`s climate is moderate and subtropical, cooled by
           breezes off the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Marrakech has an
           average winter temperature of 21ºC (70ºF) and 100°F (38°C)

    •    Pricing - Prices significantly lower than in Costa Del Sol. Extremely spa-
        cious and high-specification 2/3 bed apartments starting at approx
        100,000 and 4 bed villas at around 280,000 Euros.

    •    Growth - Expect significant capital growth and guaranteed rental income.



     Marrakech was recently featured on Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun – 20 best places to buy
abroad’. It is only a matter of time before the little known Mediterranean coast experiences the same
interest and growth.




Real Estate Market



        The Moroccan property market is growing at a rapid yet sustainable pace.
With the low cost of living it is possible to experience a luxury lifestyle at relatively
low cost and there are no restrictions on foreigner ownership of property. Capital
growth over the past three years has been in the region of 15 – 30% per annum.

     When construction of the many new facilities, luxurious living accommodation, as well as new
                                                                               .
roads, marinas and ports is completed, it is expected property prices will soar The resorts are set to
attract vast numbers of tourists on short-term holidays, generating excellent rental yields for investors
of buy-to-let properties.
    Given all indicting factors, it is inevitable that property prices will rise at a rate that will please in-
vestors. The growth rate has been quoted at around 30% (Homes Overseas Magazine) while as a
more conservative estimate, 15% is expected to be easily achievable.
     Rental income from Morocco based property is also of great interest to investors as good rental
yields are achievable from property in the new luxury resorts currently under construction. It is ex-
pected that the rental income achieved from peak season months alone (June to September), based
on a 2 bed apartment is expected to be around €2,000 per month.
     With the current statistic of 85% rental occupancy during high season and the number of tourists
set to grow faster than the amount of available accommodation, this figure is expected to grow to
create even higher demand for property. With this will come an increase in rental prices.




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  Property Investment Facts
          Property prices around 50% cheaper than European comparables.

          Full freehold ownership rights for foreigners.

          60% LTV Mortgages available to foreigners at around 6%.

    No tax payable on rental income for the first five years.

          Only 20% capital gains tax, falling to 10% after 5 years and nothing after
            10 years.

          Fast growing property market.

          0% inheritance tax.

       Comparable off-plan properties bought 4 years ago in the UAE for £60,000
            are now worth in excess of £140,000.



Tourist Sector Growth
      As the fifth economic power of Africa with an annual GDP of $152 billion (£85
  billion); one of Morocco’s largest sources of revenue is tourism, and Morocco has
  plans to encourage even more visitors to the region with the Plan Azur: Vision
  2010.

  Plan Azur; Vision 2010

       Launched in 2001 by forward thinking leader King Mohammed VI to develop
  the tourist industry, the Plan Azur is in motion to ensure Morocco can compete
  with other Mediterranean destinations such as Italy, Spain and Greece.

      The ‘open skies’ policy signed in 2006 has opened up the market for low cost
  carriers. Easyjet, Atlas Blue and Ryanair are already operating routes, with Ry-
  anair to develop another 20 routes over next 5 years, carrying 1 million passen-
  gers.

                       ,
       In the Plan Azur £2 billion of government investment will go towards the de-
  velopment of 6 new coastal resorts, upgrading existing infrastructure, construc-
  tion of new roads, airports and transport links. Investment will also aid the con-
  struction of 80,000 new hotel beds which will generate 600,000 new jobs in the
  hotel and tourism industry

       Since the launch of the Plan Azur in 2001 tourist numbers in Morocco have
  increased from 2 – 6.5 million, drawing comparisons with Dubai four years ago.




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  Dubai experienced a similar dramatic increase in visitors following plans to turn
  the Emirate into a magnificent tourist destination.

  Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed recognised his investment in the infrastructure
  and tourism market would attract large amounts of foreign investment, turning
  Dubai into a tourism-focused economy, resulting in an unprecedented property
  boom.

  Morocco’s Plan Azur is the first time such a similar vision has been initiated and
  Morocco looks set to follow in Dubai’s footsteps.

  Open skies Policy
     Morocco operates an Open Skies policy with deregulation of international flights to encourage
competition in the market and drive tourism. In December 2006 Morocco signed an agreement with
the EU to promote traffic between the two. This makes Morocco the first non-European country to
                                                                                 ,
enter into such an agreement with the EU. Air France, British Airways, Ryanair Easyjet and Atlas Blue
are all operating weekly flights to Morocco. Easy Jet has recently started flights to Marrakech from
London. Ryanair is planning to expand the number of Moroccan routes from 5 to 20 by 2010, by
                                                              .
which time they expect to carry a million passengers a year A perfect example of the affect of open
skies policies is when you look at the capital appreciation in countries such as Hungary when flights
became available.
Attractions
    Morocco is one of Africa's most popular destinations and with good reason. Marrakesh, Casa-
               ,
blanca, Tangier Fes, the Atlas Mountains, the list is long on romance, culture, and history. Bazaars,
medinas, riads, bubbly pipes and yes, excellent beaches make Morocco a wonderful starting point for
an African adventure.
The best places to visit in Morocco include the imperial cities of Marrakech, Fes and
Meknes. Morocco is also famous for its beaches and some the best seaside towns
are represented by Essaouira, Tangier and Asilah. Natural wonders of Morocco in-
clude the Atlas Mountains the Sahara desert and the Dades Valley.




Articles



  Flight bookings to Marrakech leap 295 per cent year-on-year

       Reports show Morocco is the fastest growing destination for holidaymakers
  buying flights through lastminute.com


       During summer 2006 flight bookings to Marrakech leapt 295 per cent year-
         ,
  on-year spurred on by the increasing number of flights operating between the UK
  and Morocco.


       Airline carriers have been engaged in an aggressive fare war because of the

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  record number of flights, with London-Marrakech fares dropping to as little as £38
                                                             ,
  return including taxes and charges. Before summer last year BA and Royal Air
  Maroc had the monopoly, with flights averaging £200 return.


      The open skies policy signed by Morocco has been the pivotal factor in this
  dramatic change, with estimates there will now be around 99 flights per week
  from UK to Morocco as several low cost airlines join the competition.


                                                                 ,
       Commenting on the trend, lastminute.com UK travel director John Bevan
  said: “We only expect this interest in Morocco to grow further and further; it has
  so much to offer UK travellers.”




  Morocco welcomed 2.26 million visitors so far this year

       It is estimated that 2.26 million tourists travelled to Morocco in the early
                     ,
  months of this year which The Department of Tourism noted as an increase of
  7% from the same period last year.


       Marrakech saw the main increase in tourist activity, with numbers up 12 %
                                                .
  followed closely by Casablanca and then Agadir The rest of the countries major
  cities also saw substantial tourist increases.


       The Department recorded that the major visitors to this North African desti-
  nation where the French, British and German markets, making up 63% of all the
  tourists in the area.


       It seems Morocco’s “Vision 2010” (the vision to attract 10 million tourists by
  2010) is beginning to get on track. With a £58 million marketing strategy in ac-
  tion to raise the profile of Morocco, ruler Mohammed V1 hopes to attract foreign
  investors, permitting anyone to purchase freehold property and most importantly,
  create 600,000 new jobs.




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