Morocco expects 17.5 million foreign travellers by 2026 with “Light in Action” tourism plan

Morocco National Tourist Office (ONMT) has launched its 2023-2026 action plan. The scheme has an ambitious target of boosting total tourist arrivals from 10.87 million non-resident travellers in 2022 to 17.5 million tourists by 2026

Morocco’s economy remains highly dependent of tourism. Last year saw tourist arrivals bouncing back to 84% of 2019 figures. The North African Kingdom welcomed 10.87 million foreign visitors last year, up 192% over 2021. From that number, over 5.06 million travellers stayed in the country.

Early figures for 2023 point to a further improvement of the tourism activity. The latest research from the Ministry of Tourism, Handicraft and Social and Solidarity Economy shows that Morocco attracted 2.9 million tourists between January and March. This represents a growth of 17% over the first quarter of 2019.

“Tourism in Morocco continues its rise to levels never seen before, as evidenced by the exceptional figures recorded at the end of March 2023,” the ministry commented.

From 10.8 million to 17.5 million tourist arrivals

The Ministry, in cooperation with Morocco National Tourism Office (ONMT) and the assistance of the National Confederation of Tourism (CNT), has launched a plan to further boost tourism.

The “Light in Action” project covers the 2023 to 2026 period and targets 17.5 million tourists, aiming to generate 200,000 new jobs. Tourist arrivals are expected to grow this year to 12.9 million, 14.3 million in 2024 and 15.8 million in 2025 before to reach the 17.5 million in 2026. This represents an average annual increase of 13%.

Light in Action is evolving around four main tasks: marketing, digital promotion, air connectivity and distribution. This year will mostly concentrate on the further strengthening of the “Morocco Kingdom of Light” campaign and boosting air connectivity.

The “Morocco, Kingdom of Light” campaign will be further strengthened, especially with the launch of a new version of the portal. This will be supported by boosting social media connections, in particular by working with contents’ creators and influencers.

A media library offering a rich choice of images and videos will be made available to tour operators programming the destination. To boost air capacity, the ONMT is working to reinforce the network and the number of flights of Royal Air Maroc (RAM), the Kingdom’s national carrier.

Morocco expects 17.5 million foreign travellers by 2026 with "Light in Action" tourism plan
Merzouga desert in Errachidia | Credit:

Air transport essential to Morocco’s appeal

This summer, RAM is offering 6.2 million seats on more than 90 destinations across four continents. “This increase in supply follows the restoration of almost all the routes that had been suspended during the health crisis and the opening of new routes in 2022 such as Tel Aviv, Dubai, Seville, Porto,” the airline said.

“Today, Royal Air Maroc has recovered close to 95% of its network in 2019.”

More than 2.3 million seats are deployed between Morocco and Europe, the Kingdom’s largest source of tourists. This includes more than 900 weekly flights linking 11 Moroccan airports to 34 European airports.

Other initiatives of the plan will look at doubling the point-to-point network by increasing the volume and connectivity of low-cost airlines and charter flights. Another important step is to boost domestic connectivity.

Concerning the distribution, the ONMT wants to be more active on 10 new markets in addition to its 12 core markets such as France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. The objective is also to strengthen the role of Tour Operators and Online Tourism Agencies to double the number of travellers they generate.

The ONMT and Morocco Ministry of Tourism, Handicraft, and Social and Solidarity Economy seek to position the Kingdom among the world’s Top 10 destinations through its developed 2023 to 2026 action plan, and is currently under the world’s Top 30 destinations.

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