The efforts made by the Ouarzazate provincial authorities and local professionals, in collaboration with the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT), have helped to restore tourism activity and put it into operation. Considered a very good sign, this recovery triggered a wind of optimism for the future, especially as the trends of the first five months of the current year confirm double-digit growth. According to data released by the Provincial Tourism Council (CPT), the number of tourists visiting Ouarzazate increased to 128,239 compared with 96,002 during the same period of 2016, an increase of 34%. Regarding foreign issuing markets for “The dream destination”, France remains the leading provider country, with 16,358 visitors compared with 13,185 in the previous year, ahead of Spain with a clear rise of 53%, notes the same source .
With the exception of Germany, where the number of tourists decreased from 14,692 in 2016 to 10,154 in the first five months of the current year, other conventional markets showed double-digit increases, from 13 % For the United Kingdom to 42% for the Netherlands, and Italy (25%). The CPT notes, however, that the best performances were recorded in the Asian market, as evidenced by the massive influx of Japanese (62%), and in particular the Chinese boom (no tourists from early January to the end of May 2016 against 7,844 in the same period of 2017).
The same source said that the number of overnight stays in classified accommodation establishments in the province increased from 144,104 to 198,016, an increase of 37%, which places Ouarzazate in second place at the national level in terms of growth. Still on the register of overnight stays, France leads the ball as usual, ahead of Spain and China which has managed the feat of dethroning several classical markets of the old continent.
Local tourism professionals are now optimistic for this year and express their determination to further promote the destination and to keep this upturn alive. In their eyes, this increased confidence in the recovery is in a position to win investors wishing to settle in the province to the “Thousand Kasbahs”, the Mecca of the seventh art and the solar capital of the world. The tourism sector appears to be reclaiming its position as the province’s economic engine. The recent establishment of an air link between Brussels and Ouarzazate, the planned film shootings and the various promotional and programmed activities, notably at the Ahouach National Festival and the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the declaration Of the Ksar Aït Benhaddou as universal heritage of Unesco, will inevitably attract thousands of tourists and reinforce the influence of Ouarzazate both nationally and internationally, the same source concludes.