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Chinese tourists' fever for Morocco heats up after visa-free policy
Although August is a low season for tourism in Morocco, the hot weather of the North African nation could not stop the pace of Chinese tourists visiting here.
From Casablanca to Tangier in the north, Chinese tourists can be seen in many of the cities along Morocco's long Atlantic coast.
Since Morocco announced the visa exemption for Chinese citizens in June 2016, the number of Chinese tourists to Morocco has risen rapidly, and the boom is not over yet.
Morocco has abundant tourism resources, with long Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline, deserts, snow-capped mountains, ancient cities and other exotic attractions.
According to Moroccan National Tourism Office's representative bureau in China, the number of tourists visiting China in 2017 was nearly 120,000. But in the first five months this year, the number of Chinese tourists already reached 100,000.
Chinese restaurants in Morocco are among the first sectors to benefit from the large influx of Chinese tourists.
Liu Mei, owner of a Chinese restaurant in the capital Rabat, told Xinhua that after visa exemption for Chinese citizens, the number of Chinese tourists dinning in her restaurant has increased significantly.
In 2017, her restaurant's revenue doubled compared to that of the previous year.
Huang Zhiyong, owner of a Chinese restaurant in Casablanca, said that his restaurant is also doing good business. At present, it receives an average of 6,000 customers per month, 70 percent of whom are Chinese tourists and business people.
Before the visa exemption for Chinese citizens, the number of Chinese restaurants in Morocco was no more than five. At present, the number has risen to more than 20.
As a well-known Chinese travel agency in Morocco, AMC Voyages is very optimistic about the tourism market in Morocco.
Lin Chaoxin, director of the travel agency, told Xinhua that since the visa exemption policy was launched in June 2016, Chinese tourists have shown an increasing interest in visiting Morocco. In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists received by AMC Voyages is expected to double from 2016.
Lin said that Morocco has unique tourism resources, and the number of Chinese travellers to the kingdom in the next decade will continue to grow.
There are already hundreds of Chinese people employed in the tourism industry in Morocco.
Zhang Kai, who graduated from Arabic major of Beijing Foreign Studies University, has been doing tailor-made tourism business in Morocco for two years. He believes that there will be more Chinese tourists coming to Morocco.
Tourism is one of the pillar industries of Morocco. The Moroccan government hopes to make Morocco the top 20 tourist destinations in the world by 2020, and has taken steps to attract Chinese tourists.
At the China-Morocco Tourism Forum held in Casablanca in February this year, Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicrafts and Social Economy Mohammed Sajid announced the ambitious target of attracting 500,000 Chinese tourists every year by 2020.
Morocco attaches great importance to the tourism cooperation between the two countries and will continue to improve the supporting facilities and services such as hotels and transportation, and open direct flights between the two countries, said Sajid.
Chinese Ambassador to Morocco Li Li said that since Morocco's visa exemption for Chinese citizens, the number of Chinese tourists has grown significantly, ranking first in the growth of foreign tourists to the kingdom.
Li said that, as 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, China and Morocco will seize the opportunity to deepen pragmatic cooperation in various fields including tourism.
  Source: Xinhua Net

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