During the first eleven months of 2017, Ouarzazate’s natural beauty and environmental diversity attracted 244,201 tourists up 38 percent from 177,445 visitors during the same period in 2016.
According to MAP, the increase in tourism is part of a larger pattern. The number of non-resident tourists also increased in 2016 from 132,245 to 189,974. The number of arrivals jumped from 45,200 in 2016 to 54,527 in 2017, representing an increase of 20 percent.
As a result, overnight stays in the province’s hotels have also increased by 36 percent, amounting to 360,607 during the first eleven months in 2017.
The Provincial Council of Tourism (CPT) described tourism as a critical sector that represents the “locomotive of socio-economic development of the region.”
According to CPT statistics, French tourism marked the highest growth, representing 11.95 percent of total arrivals in Ouarzazate. French visitors from January to November reached 29,195, up from 22,220 in 2016.
Spanish visitors came in second, with an increase of 52 percent:14,634 in 222,293 in 2017.
The number of UK arrivals increased by 4 percent, while Italy recorded a 36 percent increase. Meanwhile, the number of tourists from the Netherlands increased by 32 percent.
CPT said that “the best performances” were recorded by the Asian market. In the first eleven months of 2017, the number of Japanese tourists has increased by 70 percent from 7,887 in 2016 to 13,400 in 2017. The Chinese market was second in the Asian market ,recording ‘spectacular performances’ at 18,827 visitors.
CTP believes that the removal of visa requirements for Chinese tourists was “very beneficial for the sector.”