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World Travel Market: Morocco wants to boost UK market

Morocco was heading for the World Travel Market (WTM). The 40th edition of the London show opened with the participation of a strong Moroccan delegation. These include the CRTs of Fez-Meknes, Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, Marrakech-Safi, Souss-Massa and Beni Bellal-Khenifra, in addition to RAM and ONMT, as well as some thirty private institutions.

Held from 4 to 6 November, the WTM is one of the world’s largest tourism fairs. Its 2019 edition welcomes more than 5,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries and nearly 10,000 buyers. An opportunity for Moroccan professionals to hone their weapons to conquer a market that has great potential. As such, the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) has chosen the London platform to unveil the new Morocco pavilion.

Installed in the middle of the south hall, the national showcase occupies a space of 525 m² “of a modern architecture but with an authentic and traditional stamp”, indicates Adel El Fakir, General Manager of the ONMT. Indeed, the stand is recognizable thanks to the colors of Morocco, crafts and folklore.

Printed wooden doors, zelliges and carpets projected … everything transports you from London to Fez, Agadir or Marrakech in the blink of an eye. Abdeslam Aboudrar, Ambassador of Morocco to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, present for the occasion, calls on tourism professionals to capitalize on the close links between Rabat and London in order to establish new partnerships, and especially of focus on digital promotion.

Same story with Jamal Younes Kilito, ONMT delegate for the UK and Northern Ireland for whom “Morocco knew how to anticipate the consequences of Brexit on its economic relations with the United Kingdom, by signing the required agreements with the UK Government. This will enable the post Brexit to be managed smoothly, both in terms of trade, transport and sectoral cooperation”.

“The framework of Moroccan-British relations is today governed by an association agreement to consider these relations with serenity and continuity,” reassures Kilito. The ambition of the top management of the Office is to attract a million British tourists. And this, despite the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook that seems to sound the death knell of a certain model of tourism. Especially since it is now considered “as an opportunity for the redistribution of cards in the sector and the emergence of new business models”.

“These uncertainties must be considered by our destination as opportunities. We must position ourselves as precursors of disintermediation. We have, thanks to the open sky, our traditions of partnership with the OTO/OTA, the flexibility of our operators, appropriate responses to be provided in the framework of these new models”, explains the delegate of the ONMT .

In addition, professionals must manage, in their favor, the impact of changes in the price of sterling on their flows. To achieve this, they must mobilize to create a new inflection on the British market, accelerate the pace of growth and reach, in the next four years, the threshold of one million British visitors (instead of 600,000 currently).

“We need to work more on product offerings, with break-holidays for individuals, but also an offer for family tourism and groups … everything must be of the highest quality because it is about a very demanding clientele,” says Aziz Lebbar, president of CRT Fez.

And to continue: “There is a strong demand for British tourists especially in Spain, Turkey, and Egypt. Faced with its competitors, Morocco has all the ingredients to boost this market by offering adequate animation, and above all a beautiful life experience.”

To succeed this bet, the support of the State to the sector is decisive. “Above all, faced with ever-increasing expenses and an increasingly lean margin, even insignificant if the government maintains its determination to raise taxes in the tourism sector under the Finance Act 2020,” concludes Lebbar.

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