This article will explore the subject of tourism in Morocco under the following divisions: how Morocco is different from other middle eastern nations; the potential of Morocco as a tourist destination; what traditionally held Americans back?; the image of Morocco and Moroccans among Americans…
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This essay discusses that Morocco, for its close proximity to Europe and Africa, and also for its colorful culture and geography, enjoys a considerable number of tourists from Europe and other parts of the world. Also, the Moroccan government has been taking aggressive steps to improve its position as a tourist destination. World Tourism Organization in Tourism Highlights 2011 reports that despite the occasional issues like Tsunami and earthquakes, there was a 5% growth in world tourism. As a result of these aggressive steps, the percentage of international tourists to Morocco rose by 18.8% between 2008 and 2010. Admittedly, the same trend was visible in the case of Americans too. As Kiesnoski (2008) points out, there was a 30% rise in the number of American tourists to Morocco on an annual basis; and it seems that though traditionally America had been hostile to Morocco, the situation is improving due to a large number of reasons. However, Morocco has to go a long way to become a potential destination of tourism for Americans. Admittedly, Morocco has relatively good relations with the U.S. from of old. The nation is the oldest friend of America in the Middle East despite its non-NATO status. So, since 1957, the US Government has been working along with the Moroccan authorities to improve the lives of Moroccans. The second point that makes Morocco different from the Middle East nations is the different cuisine and traditions. It happened because Morocco has the relics of Arab, French, Spanish and Portuguese traditions. Probably, as a result of all these, one can see that nation is not as calamitous as its Middle East neighbors are. While other nations were turned upside down by citizens calling for revolution, and as the rulers of those nations retorted with military and weapon resulting in mass killings, Morocco witnessed peaceful agitations which are legally allowed and a peaceful referendum from the King offering limited monarchic power. In the opinion of Coskun (2011), another important point is that unlike other Islamic nations which want to end the rule of monarchs, many of the electorate in Morocco expressed total trust in the King. Thus, according to the Financial Times (2011) report, by adopting a constitutional monarchy like that of Spain or the UK, which is politically open and economically liberal, Morocco stands farther ahead of its Arab companions. The Potential of Morocco as a Tourist Destination Morocco always attracted backpackers for the diversity it offered. The very first element is the cultural tourism it offered. Tourists to Morocco get a chance to experience the various languages, cultures, dresses, and lifestyles (Oxford Business Group, 2007). As infoplease.com reveals, Americans have an affinity towards cultural sites and art galleries and museums. Nearly 30% of tourists from America chose such places in 2004 (International destinations of American tourists, 2004). Admittedly, there are eight UNESCO sites already in Morocco and another 20 sites are already in the consideration of UNESCO. That means traditions and cultures will remain as a matter of attraction in future too (Morocco, n.d). To illustrate, the one who reaches Morocco is perplexed by the large web of medinas. The medinas of Essaouira and Marrakech are examples. Another important factor that attracts tourists to Morocco is fine sandy beaches of Morocco. In other words, the beaches of Morocco are at least as beautiful as those in Europe. Thirdly, the nation also offers deserts, just like Africa. That means the one who wants to enjoy a ride on camel-back through the Saharan desert can do the same in Morocco. These elements are followed by mountains and colorful streets. Thus, it becomes evident that Morocco has everything as it is a perfect combination of various elements which make it a unique destination (Morocco: Department of Tourism,
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