Morocco’s tourism officials expect a spike in bookings for 2023 as a result of the nation’s football team’s performance at the World Cup.
The Moroccan team was the first African team to advance to the semifinal round of the event in Qatar.
The Atlas Lions’ performances, according to the Moroccan National Tourist Office, have significantly increased social media mentions of Morocco as a vacation destination in the last month.
It cited data from social media tracker Talkwalker, which discovered there were 13 million mentions over the course of the previous 30 days across social media, compared to an average of less than 500,000 in a typical month.
In order to take advantage of the demand and rising interest in travel to Morocco, the MNTO stated it will continue to collaborate with travel brokers to provide training and familiarisation tours.
The number of winter vacation bookings from the UK has increased over the past month, according to tourism minister Fatim-Zahra Ammor, while inquiries on the Visit Morocco website have increased 10-fold.
Commenting on the social media surge, she said: “It is important to note these mentions came from a very wide range of countries, where traditionally they were only concentrated in Morocco and parts of Europe.
“We can only capitalise on this exposure and in the UK we are seeing this enthusiasm transform into tourist arrivals.”
More than 650,000 British tourists visited Morocco in 2019, placing the UK in the fourth position for arrivals and second for overnight stays. The UK and Irish market is the second most important in value terms for Morocco after the French.
Also helping to boost tourism numbers are increases in flight capacity and a host of new hotels.
Six airlines – Ryanair, EasyJet, Royal Air Maroc, British Airways, Tui and Air Arabia – operate from seven airports in the UK and Ireland to five Moroccan destinations.
New hotels include Fairmont La Marina Rabat Sale Hotel and Residences, Rabat; Barberrih Hotel Hospitality Palaces & Resorts, Essaouira; Fairmont Tazi Palace, Tangier; Rabat Marriott Hotel; and Hilton Taghazout Bay Beach Resort & Spa.
The Morocco National Tourist Office (MNTO) said its research shows its range of attractions appeals to a younger audience “who demand the unexpected and something different from their travels”.
It has been highlighting its tourism offering with the Kingdom of Light campaign, and the country also hosted Abta’s Travel Convention in Marrakech in October.