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MENAFN - Arab News - 02/06/2012

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Morocco targets more tourists from Kingdom
(MENAFN - Arab News) .Saudi Arabia continues to grow with investments from elsewhere in the GCC and other countries and as a result investor and tourist numbers are increasing, according to Taibi Khattab, director for Middle East and Asia, Moroccan Government Tourist Office.

"From the region, our main market is Saudi Arabia because of its huge population," Khatab told Arab News in an interview. "The GCC is very important for us as it is growing. We are also receiving a number of visitors from the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar," he added.

"We expect to receive 20 million tourists per year by 2020. Currently, we receive 11 million tourists a year. We want to attract more from the Middle East region and we have set up a huge campaign for this," he said.
"Morocco is one of the best tourist places to visit, because we are very close to the nature and we have many things to offer - from deserts, mountains, valleys and oases to beaches," he said.

"If you come to Morocco, you can see hikers of all levels walking across our mountains. The little Moroccan Switzerland, Ifrane, may come as a pleasant surprise with its cool atmosphere in summer and snow in winter. We have arid and rocky plateaus, secret gorges, lush green valleys and forests of cedar. Nature is generous and unspoiled in our country. In addition, the country has a wide range of air sports activities, from skiing to parachute jumping. Climbing the Mount M'Goun (4068 m), and the ascent of Mount Toubkal takes two days for experienced climbers," he added.

"Our is also an ideal destination to sample the pleasures of relaxation in a spa, he said. Agadir a city that enjoys 360 days' sunshine, Marrakech, Essaouira, Fez, Tangier and Casablanca have a lot to offer. Walk around the traditional souks in Agadir, meet highly skilled craftsmen and get a beautiful jewelry box, discover Hercules' caves and explore Souss Massa national park.

"If you are in Casablanca, visit the great Hassan II Mosque, a contemporary Arab-Muslim architectural masterpiece. Safi, the ancient Portuguese fortified city is famous for its national ceramics museum. Just walk into any of our museums you will know what is our history," he said.

Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the country has a 3,000 km long coastline where landscapes are diverse and beaches beautiful. "A number of investors from Saudi Arabia have started to invest in our country, especially in tourism, he said, adding that some reputable groups from the Kingdom have invested in hotels, aviation, and entertainment. We are also getting investments from Kuwait and Qatar," he added.

"Since we follow a democratic-oriented monarchy, our country has a better set up and security which attracts foreign investments. Moreover, our assembly is an elected body, so we do not expect any sort of unrest or problems in the country," he added.

The country's main cities are always busy with cultural events in all artistic fields throughout the year. Music, film, popular culture.... The international film festival in Marrakech creates a bridge between the film industries of the North and of the South, with works that combine cultures, nationalities and languages.

The country is 13 km away from Spain and is closer to Europe. It gets a large number of tourists from the UK, Germany and France. "So reputable international business firms are happy to invest in the country as they can yield double, because ours is a tourist spot that attracts tourists from Europe and the Middle East as well," he said.


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