Tourism is one of the biggest world’s recognized industries and offers great potential to both developing and developed countries in terms of foreign exchange earnings, income generation, and employment creation.
Tourism industry is independent on the societies and quality of the local environment since tourists are interested in cultural attractive and esthetical places to visit. However, if it is not managed appropriately, it can damage the resource that sustain and sees its success.
This delicate balance situation requires development of recommendations for sustainable tourism that maximize benefits while reducing its negative economic, cultural, social, and environmental impacts.
Morocco recorded a minimum value of 2602000 in 1995, and the number has increased gradually to a maximum of 9288000 in 2010.
According to Morocco’s tourism cluster performance; the total tourism night and tourism receipt per year, have been performed excellently from 2004 to 2007. In order to see Morocco continuing with international growth, we should focus on both the strategies and recommendations. The performance of Morocco’s tourism sector is challenged by five principle threats.
First, the threat of Morocco’s tourism sector being out priced in the market. This threat is evident since a one night stay at Sheraton in Casablanca cost $ 229 as compared to $ 150 for the same in Cairo. This represent 52% higher cost although the hotels are of the same quality. High prices in Moroccan sector can be due to the appreciating exchange rate as compared to the falling exchange rates of the substitute destinations and Morocco’s labor productivity relative to wage levels is low. For instance Moroccans are equally or more productive than Indians, however, market wages in Morocco are two or four tomes higher than that in India. To cumber this strategic challenge, Moroccan government should not depend on policies directly purposed at devaluating the exchange rate; these since the policies manipulating exchange rates are not long- term solutions. Both the private sector and the government are supposed to come up with policies through productivity of labor thus leading to fair prices.
In addition, tourism sector should collaborate with the government to improve training, and education of the tourism sector employees. Particularly, the tourism education should be integrated into the country’s education system, and expand the vocational training to its employees. The government should invest in physical infrastructure and ICT to foster productivity of the tourism sector. The government should also leave the private sector to drive its share of education initiative, which ensures effective training.
Second strategic problem facing Morocco’s tourism sector is the need for the continued development of tourism packages that will increase and maintain demand for the tourism sector products. Morocco has also faced the problem of differentiating itself from the other destinations. There are also a range of tourist niches, which lie dormant, yet they have strong potential if they were to be developed. Such niches include; cruise, desert, rural, and healthcare tourism. If Morocco can successively develop some or all of these niches, it would be able to offer diverse and distinctive travel packages to continue to attract tourists to visit the country. The government should aim at implementation of these policies which promote these alternative niches. First, the government should extend the infrastructure to the desert and the rural areas which would make these tourism categories viable. Secondly, the government should quicken the time it takes to award licenses for the operators of the alternative niches. Third, in order to foster health care tourism- cosmetic surgery- the government should increase regulation within the industry. In addition to expanding the existing types of tourism sectors in Morocco, the government should ensure local sectors are high quality by implementing and enforcing strict quality guidelines. For instance, the government needs to enforce strict enforcement and sanitation guidelines of international rating systems for hotels in Morocco.
The third challenge is the importance of expanding the tourism consumer base beyond Europe and France; this would reduce the risk of the sector to expand its growth rate. For instance, there was 47% international tourist s from France while 79% of them came from five countries in Europe. In order, to attain improvement in diversity among tourist, the government should focus on marketing campaigns on countries outside Europe, as well as promoting English language training in the education sector.
The fourth threat facing international tourism in Morocco is terrorism; sustainability of the sector is also threatened. For example, in 2003, 41 tourists were killed in Casablanca attack. In the recent past, there was an incident of suicide bombing in 2007. The government has significantly combated the threat of terrorism. In the start of 2001, the government also impacted pressure on fundamentalist groups, after the September 11th attack on U.S, which has significantly resulted to an increase in travelers to morocco. To reduce terrorism incidents, the government also should enforce and implement strict anti-terrorism regulation.
The fifth principle threat facing tourism sector in morocco is the serious degradation of the country’s resources as the sector expands which would eventually affect the long-term sustainability of the sector. Morocco occurs in the 118th country out of the 130 country in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index in the area of the natural resource protection. To prevent such degradation, the government should increase the number of nationally protected parts in Morocco and improve the enforcement of the environmental regulations in existence.
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