Morocco's tourism industry is struggling. In the first five months of 2016 Morocco has welcomed just 3.48 million visitors, 1.4% less than the same period last year
According to the Tourism Observatory. The flow of international tourists fell by 4.5% in late May. This decline is across the main source markets for tourists to Morocco, including the UK (-7%), Germany (-7%), Italy (-6%) and France (-3 %). The one exception was The Netherlands, with Dutch tourists up 2%.
Overnight stays in tourist accommodation has decreased by 1.4% at the end of May, compared to the same period of 2015 (-5.5% for non-resident tourists and 8.4% for residents ).
Figures from the Tourism Observatory also show that the two tourist centres, Marrakech and Agadir, continue to provide the bulk of the country's tourism. They generated 60% of total overnight stays in the first five months of 2016, even though the nights were flat in Marrakech and were down 2% in Agadir.
The other destinations showed mixed results, with a 20% drop in Fez, a 3% decrease in Rabat and an increase of 6% each for the cities of Casablanca and Tangier.
The drop of numbers coming to Fez is particularly worrying with Riad owners struggling to maintain staff levels in near empty riads.
The occupancy rate, across Morocco reached 38% at end May 2016, down three points from the end of May 2015.
Revenue generated by nonresident tourists amounted to 21.5 billion dirhams, against 20.2 billion a year earlier.
Despite the downturn, Ryanair has increased to 55 routes for the winter season 2016-2017. This includes flights already operating to Agadir, Fez, Marrakech, Nador, Oujda, Rabat and Tangier.
New routes include; an Agadir London-Stansted flight and between Toulouse and Fez effective from November 1. Ryanair also plans flights between Marrakech and Tangier, from Liverpool and Frankfurt-Hahnn from October 31.
|Marrakech tourism is flat|
With its fifty flights to Morocco, the Irish company aims to carry 2.7 million passengers per year.
The World Tourism Organisation has just published a report that shows the ranking of countries in the Arab world and the Mediterranean.
Morocco is ranked first among Arab countries with 10.8 million tourists, followed by Egypt with 9,620,000 and Tunisia with 6.06 million visitors. In this ranking, Algeria and Lebanon occupy the last places respectively with 2.3 million and 1.35 million.
The same report indicates that before the war Syria had registered 8.5 million visitors.
Given the situation in Turkey, Morocco is expected to benefit as tourists avoid Istanbul and Ankara due to the unrest and potential for more turmoil.