Holidays in Morocco too expensive for Moroccans

A vacation in Morocco? For Brahim, it is ” No “, except when it comes to going to see his family. For several years, this cinema professional has chosen Tarifa in Spain to satisfy his passion: kitesurfing. “I go there with my wife and my son at least twice a year. » He added up: with the train from Casablanca to Tangier, the ferry to Spain, the apartment rented for a week, the rental of nautical equipment, meals and a few extras, the stay cost him on average 2,000 euros . “I have my plans and I plan ahead to get the best prices. If I went to Dakhla, it would cost me almost twice as much”he explains.

More than 1,500 kilometers south of Rabat, Dakhla, the coastal city of Western Sahara, offers breathtaking dune landscapes and an immense lagoon, popular with kitesurfers from all over the world. But at what cost ? Next spring, it will cost 6,000 dirhams (nearly 550 euros) for a return flight with two adults and a child from Casablanca, and at least 15,000 dirhams for seven days in a hotel on the banks of the water.

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“Before even eating or picking up a board, I have already spent more than in Spain”insists Brahim, who admits not understanding the high prices in a destination promoted by tourist operators, but from which very few Moroccans can benefit.

Like Brahim, several hundred thousand of them go to Spain each year for their vacations. Nearly 740,000 in 2019, according to the Spanish embassy in Rabat. Up 10% compared to 2018, their expenses were estimated at 780 million euros. Others prefer Portugal or Italy, connected from Casablanca by a low-cost Emirati company.

The boom in alternative locations

This is a paradox of tourism in Morocco. Vacationing locally can be as expensive, sometimes more, than staying abroad. To the point of becoming unaffordable for the less well-off classes, who cannot leave the country and must resolve the problem of accommodation. The fault lies in an insufficient and unsuitable offer, according to Mohamed Semlali. “Households want spacious accommodation at a lower cost, between 400 and 500 dirhams per night”summarizes the president of the national federation of associations of travel agencies.

The contrast is indeed striking between the habits of the “Moroccan family type”who travels with children and relatives, and the accommodation possibilities of a market where the price of a hotel room fluctuates between 80 and 150 euros. “A real handicap”, points out tourism consultant Zoubir Bouhoute, because he is “impossible to find an establishment that likes a single room for five or six people”.

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