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Friday, 8 May 2015 12:00 AM

20th Year of Selling Holidays To Morocco

Naturally Morocco is just entering its 20th year of existence. In a constantly and often radically changing world that is something that we are truly proud about.

It Started in Taroudant

In our early days Naturally Morocco focussed on sending small groups to Taroudant, a lovely medina town in the south of Morocco just south of the High Atlas mountain. There we developed the Real Morocco programme as a means for our guests to get a taste of the true Morocco – the people, culture and geography.

We are very pleased that the Real Morocco programme is still popular and we still use the same knowledgeable staff at La Maison Anglaise although now we have a range of accommodation to stay at.

The Expansion of Moroccan Tourism

Of course much has changed since those early days. Most obviously the sheer numbers of tourists coming to Morocco – up from around 3 million in 1996 to over 10 million today – which has resulted in or is a result from (chicken and egg situation) budget airlines providing direct cheap flights from the UK and a huge range of good quality accommodation across the country.

Naturally Morocco swiftly expanded from its core strength in the south to covering the vast majority of Morocco (we avoid the mass market beach destinations), with high quality accommodation and transport catering for the greater awareness of Morocco as a holiday destination. Gone are the days where it was an unknown, and in came the days when many people knew someone who had been to Morocco and the fear factor of the unkown was disappearing fast.

The Commoditisation of Moroccan Holidays

Today the tourism market seems to be continually changing. In every newspaper there appears to be a special deal and on-line booking systems are reinforcing the idea that Morocco is just a short flight away. Unfortunately the focus is largely on Marrakech alone, and there is a bun-fight between cheap hotels outside of the medina to provide cheap offers to keep their occupancy levels high.

That part of the market is mass market and price based, and service and quality suffer as a result.

Naturally Morocco works hard to spread the word that Morocco is so much more than Marrakech, albeit that is a wonderful city with excellent flight options but not indicative of the whole of Morocco.

For our customers we emphasise the benefit of staying in small boutique hotels – the riads and kasbahs – old historic buildings beautifully converted and in interesting places in medinas across the country.

A holiday break can be just a weekend escape to somewhere novel when price is a driving factor, but it can be so much more and Morocco continues to offer something for virtually everyone – we hope that you will come and talk to our experts in our 20th year, it is still a very special place if you know where to look.