Qatar World Cup Effect: Record-Breaking Over 5.1 Million Visitors in Morocco

Qatar World Cup Effect: Record-Breaking Over 5.1 Million Visitors in Morocco



Tourists walking in Rabat’s old-medina Souk. Image from archive.

In an unprecedented wave of tourism, Morocco welcomed more than 5.1 million visitors in the first five months of 2023, marking a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2019, according to Fatima Zahra Ammor, the country’s Minister of Tourism.

Ammor, addressing the House of Councilors on Tuesday, announced that “for the first time, we reached more than one million tourists in May, a staggering increase of 55% compared to 2019.”

The surge in tourism numbers is not limited to international travelers, but also includes Moroccans living abroad, who now make up 56% of the total number of tourists, a significant increase from 51% in 2019.

Ammor attributes this outstanding growth to the successful implementation of a 2 billion dirham emergency plan and diligent efforts to increase air travel accessibility. “We have achieved positive results, and the ministry is working relentlessly to convert this unprecedented interest into actual visits from a large number of tourists and to break into new markets,” she added.

The World Cup appears to be a substantial contributor to Morocco’s recent tourism boom. Ammor noted an uptick in tourists attributing their visit to the global sporting event. In response, the ministry has expanded its collaboration with the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.

The partnership, formalized last Wednesday, aims to leverage the universal popularity of football to promote Morocco as a top-tier tourist destination both domestically and internationally.

“We have begun to notice that a number of tourists declare that their visit to Morocco is due to the World Cup,” said Ammor, “and to encourage tourism through sport in Morocco, we have expanded the partnership between the Moroccan Tourism Office and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.”

This alignment is expected to augment Morocco’s significant tourism momentum and promises to keep football as a centerpiece in future campaigns from the Moroccan Tourism Office.