Morocco seeks Kazakh tourists, tourism agency partnerships

ASTANA – Morocco sees the potential for cooperation in the Kazakh tourism market, said the country’s first Ambassador to Kazakhstan Abdeljalil Saubry at the Dec. 5 inaugural Moroccan tourism day in the capital.

The event gathered approximately 50 local tour agencies, five Moroccan tour operators and representatives of the Moroccan National Tourist Office and Royal Air Maroc.

“We are taking the first major step in this promising direction. The number of companies presented and their reputations demonstrate a great interest in Morocco today. It demonstrates great potential and opportunities that we have and we will develop further. I believe this is the first stage of our fruitful cooperation,” he said.

The Moroccan Embassy, opened two years ago, has recorded an increasing number of visa applications. It also issues visas for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

“We see that Kazakh tourists are eager to see new countries and to discover new cultures. They are interested in finding new directions. This inspires us to promote the tourism sector and improve the service,” he added.  

Morocco is noted 16 times on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list. The country boasts high quality tourism services and a plethora of destinations. Its geographic position as the crossroads of Africa, Europe and the Arab World, the sea and the ocean, the desert and the mountains; its ancient history, well-known gastronomy and hospitality make it a desirable destination. Tourist offerings are varied, including surfing, races, hunting, fishing and golf. It is famous for its authentic culture, diverse excursion tours and different types of hotels.  

Moroccan National Tourist Office for Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Director Samir Soussi noted the tourism day event was initiated by the ambassador to start the country’s large-scale promotion.

“The Kazakh market is one of the priorities for us. We do not have a large flow of Kazakh tourists, but we see how they enjoy staying in Morocco. We have a tourism development project in Kazakhstan and we are going to strengthen our presence,” he said.

The office organised seminars and workshops in Almaty and annually participates in the Kazakhstan International Exhibition Tourism and Travel (KITF). This year, the office also took part in the capital exhibition.

Connecting flights between the countries are being developed.

“We will invite our partners to discuss flight projects – charter or regular flights. The most important thing is that we started the negotiations and work in this direction,” he said.

Morocco attracted a record number of 11 million tourists in 2017, according to The Arab Weekly. Tourism is the country’s second largest employer after agriculture and one of its main sources of foreign exchange, accounting for 10 percent of its wealth.