Saturday, December 03, 2016

Morocco's Tourism Numbers - Mixed Results

Moroccan tourism may be making a comeback, but only in certain areas. During the first nine months of 2016, revenues generated by foreign tourists in Morocco amounted to 50.77 billion dirhams. This compares to 47.85 billion dirhams in 2015, an increase of 6.1%
Chinese tourist numbers saw a huge increase

Overnight stays in classified tourist accommodation establishments increased at the end of September, 2% compared to the same period in 2015 (-2% for non-resident tourists and 11% for domestic tourists).

The two major tourist destinations,  Marrakech and Agadir generated 60% of total overnight stays in the first nine months of 2016, registering increases of 2% and 3%.

The other destinations posted mixed results. Fez decreased by 12%, followed by Rabat (-2%), while Casablanca and Tangier experienced increases of 5% and 7% respectively. The occupancy rate until the end of September 2016, stood at 40%, down one point compared to the same period in 2015.

According to statistics the tourism Observatory, a total of 8.1 million tourists visited Morocco in the first nine months of 2016, up slightly by 0.3% compared to the same period in 2015. the number of foreign tourists decreased 3.6%, while arrivals of Moroccans living abroad (MRE) were up 3.8%.

Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom, Germany and France have seen a 7%, 3% and 2% decline respectively. The number of tourists from the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain rose 2%, 1% and 1% respectively. The bigest increase came from the Chinese and Russian markets which posted 3 digit increases (+ 102% in Russia and + 184% for China).


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Morocco's New Second Language - English - Gains Ground

During a recent speech, Rachid Belmokhtar, the Moroccan Minister of Education and Vocational Training, declared that the Ministry has taken serious procedures to expand and improve the use of the English language among students in the Kingdom

Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Rachid Belmokhtar

The critical success of the expansion and improvement of the use of the English language in the country is indisputable as Morocco has recently ranked first in the MENA region for English proficiency. Education First, a world leader in international education ranked Morocco as the top MENA country with the best English proficiency and 44th in the world. The ranking sorts out countries in zones according to their mastery of English skills, ranging from very high to very low.

The index also indicated that Moroccan women are more proficient in English (52.52 percent) than their male counterparts (48.06 percent).

This ranking confirms Moroccans’ improvement in English proficiency. Another ranking published by the same index showed that Morocco has recorded the second highest rate of improvement in English proficiency worldwide.

This improvement was achieved due to the widespread use of the Internet, which 56.8 percent of Moroccans have access to, according to 2013 World Bank statistics. Moroccans are quickly becoming more aware of the importance of English in giving access to better job opportunities.

Writing for Morocco World News, Soumaya El Filali reports that Minister Belmokhtar stated that in response and accordance with the reform project called for by King Mohammed VI, the Ministry of Education had adopted new approaches and methods to expand the teaching of the country’s newly adopted second foreign language.

“We’ve tried to encourage the creation of English clubs in all high-schools to encourage students to be able to speak it,” Belmokhtar said, adding that this step has achieved great success, as reflected by the students’ performance in the language.

The growth of the English language cannot be attributed to the Ministry’s initiatives alone, as Moroccans themselves have shown great interest in learning what is now considered most influential language in the world, knowing that it can open doors to new experiences and better job opportunities.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Remote Families Get Aid During Cold Weather

Every year, between December and January, Morocco experiences very low temperatures in some regions of the country.  And although we are still in November the country is suffering from a sudden onset of extreme cold weather.  In response, considerable human and logistical support has been mobilised to alleviate the impact of the cold wave 

Yesterday the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity came to the aid of communities facing the harsh cold wave plaguing the mountainous and remote areas of the province of Azilal.

The Foundation undertook the distribution of aid to 2,379 families in the rural commune of Zaouiat Ahansal. This is only the first phase of an operation to mitigate the impact of the cold snap on the population. The initiative focused on the distribution of blankets and food (sugar, oil, tea, milk, and legumes) from three distribution points in the town.

This humanitarian action, for a total of 5646 families in 78 communities spread over the entire territory of the province, was conducted in coordination between the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, as well as provincial, local and security authorities.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Hamadcha Tariqa in Fine Form

Ten members of the Hamadcha Tariqa (Sufi Brotherhood) performed a free concert tonight at the ALIF Riad in Batha. The Moroccan audience was delighted with the performance as were the foreign students who attended
The Hamadcha entered by candlelight

The Tariqa, with leader Abderrahim Amrani, made their traditional Hamadcha entrance by candlelight and after a gentle beginning added drums to their lineup and within minutes had many of the younger people in the crowd on their feet dancing.

The Hamadcha with Abderrahim Amrani centre
A hi-octane performance

As usual the tempo increased as the performance built up to the hadra and the hi-octane crescendo of the performance.  The crowd, and the Sufi group, were justifiably ecstatic. Although the group comprised only a small number of the Hamadcha, they showed once again why they are considered one of Morocco's national treasures.

Photographs: Sandy McCutcheon


Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Luxury Yoga Retreat in Fez


Free Photo Editing Workshop in Fez

Photo Editing Workshop  
Photoshop & Lightroom  
W i t h   Ch a k i b   Z i n e 

Sunday, November 27, 10:30 AM at the ALIF Riad
(Meet in front of the Batha Fountain if you don't know the way)


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Flooding in Tangier

With the onset of a week of wet and cold weather across Morocco, there was major flooding this morning in Tangier

Heavy rains flooded the city, causing some traffic disruption at the main road arteries.

According Tanja24 information site, many drivers struggled to circulate in some streets of the city of Tangier due to heavy rains in mid-day.

Tanja24 reports that the city drainpipes were not sufficient to contain the amount of water and overflowed  to the inconvenience of traffic, especially at the Beni Makada bridge. The intense rains have also caused flooding in several neighbourhoods.