Morocco's tourism sector could have suffered heavy economic losses due to the various restrictions and measures that the Moroccan government has implemented to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, the Alawi country has remained afloat and has managed to achieve good results in the tourism sector. The city of Dakhla, despite these drawbacks, has managed to achieve the feat of becoming one of the most visited cities in the Kingdom and, in 2021 alone, has managed to double the number of tourists in the area, compared to other years.
The Minister of Tourism, Fatima Zahra Ammor, answered several questions in Parliament where she affirmed the news and commented on related issues. She also added that the number of visitors to the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region had experienced a large growth, quadrupling the number of tourists progressively from 2011 to 2019. Moreover, the minister added that 50% of the people visiting the area were of European origin.
In addition to this increase in the number of visitors, another of the themes that flowed in the Chamber of the country was the boom in the quality of tourist investments, which have registered a 46% growth in 4-star hotels and hotel clubs. On the other hand, the minister in turn made a comparison on the data extracted from the sector in 2020 and in 2021. During these two years in which the pandemic has influenced global tourism, Ammor points out that the number of people who had spent at least one night in hotels in Dakhla had increased by almost 101%. The comparison comes out of the sample where in September 2020 there were 44,000 people visiting the area, and in 2021 almost 90,000 visitors were picked up.
In line with this, Dakhla airport also saw an increase in the number of passengers visiting the region. In the first nine months of 2021, the total number of tourists was almost 6,000. In similarity with last year, the figure collected in 2020 was 4,207 during the same period of time.
Dakhla is one of the cities that is experiencing a boom in the growth of tourists. The natural resources of the area make it an attractive place that visitors know how to take advantage of for a getaway or holiday. It is a coastal city, in the south of Morocco, which is bathed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and part of the Sahara Desert. The city offers its tourists the opportunity to do whatever they want to do.
The minister, on the other hand, acknowledged that despite everything, the tourist season of 2021 has been good and affirms that her ministry intends to continue with projects and plans to raise the city as a great option for tourism. To this end, all of the region's natural resources will be used to create a new tourism offer, which, in turn, would lead to the economic recovery of the area.
As a mainly coastal area, Dakhla offers business opportunities that are being exploited by entrepreneurs. Its coastline, which stretches for 667 kilometres, is one of the richest fishing areas in the Kingdom and contributes to 45% of the nation's fish production, which is also internationally recognised by other countries that buy the products that come out of the bay.
One of the most ambitious projects, which is expected to create almost 200,000 jobs, is the new port of 'Dahkla Atlantique'. It is expected to give a major boost to the region's economy and play an important role in future trade relations.
The government, in turn, has long been planning to turn the city into one of the most important economic centres in North Africa. Another project in Dakhla is the creation of Dakhla Smart City, an initiative that will realise a fully sustainable city and create an improved urban transport network.