Morocco and Thailand sign tourism pact

Morocco and Thailand sign tourism pact

Thai and Moroccan tourism promotion agencies have signed an agreement to boost tourism in both countries, part of a goal for the northern African state to welcome 20 million visitors a year by 2020, Moroccan ambassador to Thailand Abdelilah El Housni said.

The target is double the 10.5 million arrivals registered last year, according to the ambassador.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in the Moroccan capital Rabat on Sept 6 between Abderrafie Zouiten, director-general of the Moroccan National Tourist Office and Suparerk Soorangura, president of the Thailand Travel Agents Association, said the ambassador.

In collaboration with the Moroccan embassy, the association this month organised a 10-day trip to the African kingdom for more than 60 Thai travel agents and journalists, visiting Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakesh and nine other cities and towns to get acquainted with the Moroccan touristic sites.

"This trip by the TTAA demonstrates the attractiveness and diversity of Morocco's rich heritage, stability and security," Mr Housni said.

Characterised by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert, Morocco is one of three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. The other two are Spain and France. The country of nearly 34 million people has a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African and European cultures.

Morocco saw a 2.6% decline in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2016 from a year earlier to 4.2 million, according to figures by Morocco's Tourism Office, as European economies remain sluggish.

Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy decreased by 8%, 7%, 5% and 5% respectively, the office said.

In 2014, the TTAA and the embassy created a consortium called the "Morocco Travel Centre" with 27 tour operators across Thailand to promote and sell tourism packages on Morocco.

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