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Africa has re-emerged as a promising destination after multiple destinations on the continent began to ease their restrictions, either by launching simpler tourist visas or removing health mandates that had been in place for three excruciatingly long years.
From the Mediterranean coast to the sub-Saharan interior, it is marking new tourism recordsBut one country in particular has stood out as one of the trendiest for Western visitors due to its excellent infrastructure, stunning natural landscapes, and world-class city breaks.
Welcome to Morocco, the jewel in the crown of North Africa:
Morocco witnesses historic growth in tourism this year
According to data published by the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, up to 2.9 million tourists arrived in Morocco in the first quarter of 2023, 17 percent more than in 2019 and a whopping 464 percent increase more than 2022.
Westerners return to Morocco a lot, attracted by its inexhaustible cultural richness and attractive prices. as the entity confirmedSpanish, British, Italian and American tourists are behind the growth of inbound tourism.
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The Ministry plans to further boost tourism and host up to 17.5 million tourists annually by 2026, now that all health-related restrictions have been removed and air connectivity between Morocco and Europe and North America is being improved, two of its most valuable markets. fortified.
Unlike most destinations in Africa, the Kingdom of North Africa grants visa-free entry to US citizens. To enter, Americans must present a biometric passport with enough blank pages to meet entry requirements.
However, Morocco’s openness to tourism and facilitated travel are not the only reasons why it continues to grow in popularity:
Why is it so popular among westerners?
Morocco is the most northwestern nation in Africa and a historic state with a rich ancient past intertwined with that of southern Europe.
It is the homeland of the Moors, who would later establish powerful caliphates throughout the territory and conquer large swathes of the Iberian Peninsula, establishing a strong presence in the western Mediterranean, including Portugal and Spain, which they ruled for centuries.
Distinguished by its ornate motifs and perfectly symmetrical, square shapes, Moorish design can be seen throughout Morocco today, particularly in the centuries-old medinas that flourished as trading centers during the Middle Ages.
One of the most famous cities emerging as economic, cultural and political centers, marrakesh It is a beautiful maze of sandstone buildings, madrasahand charming cafes bustling with commerce day and night.
Other ‘imperial’ cities not to be missed on a visit to Morocco include Fez, the largest medina and pedestrian urban area in the world; Meknes, home to lush green Mediterranean-style gardens and a sultan’s mausoleum; and Rabatthe surprisingly developed capital of the country.
Aside from its Moorish heritage, Morocco is famous for its well-preserved French and Spanish colonial-era architecture, a distinctive feature in cities like White House and Tangiertwo of the most modern and best developed in the country.
Morocco as an escape to nature
Moving away from the urban centers, tourists will soon learn that reducing Morocco to its arid landscapes, namely the Sahara desert, is a serious mistake.
It offers much more variety than just sunset camel rides: it covers a significant section of the Atlas Mountains, including Toubkal, its highest peak; Morocco also has alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains.
Stretching for an impressive 2,500 km from the rugged Atlantic coast to the westernmost section of the Mediterranean, where it meets the Strait of Gibraltar, with numerous marine parks and sand crescents in between, the Moroccan coastline is another overlooked natural attraction on a criminally underrated continent.
Whether it is the up-and-coming tourist scene of Agadir or Tangier and their high affordability or the uniqueness of the traditional seaside settlements that have not yet been ruined by mass tourism, such as Essaouira and Taghazout, you cannot help but fall in love with the Moroccan Beach. .
Morocco is incredibly affordable
With rates per night for a single room in a riad in the Old Medina starting from in solo USD$40 in June, the charming port city of Essaouira is one of your best bets for an affordable early summer getaway.
In general, Morocco is incredibly affordable for Westerners. According Cost of livingthat compared prices in 22 destinations in the country, locals spend on average 586 US dollars in the local currency, the Moroccan dirhameach month.
Prices for tourists may be higher, but the low cost of living and the depreciating currency, significantly weaker than the euro or dollar, are still good news for budget travelers.
Low cost flights to Morocco are available from numerous European hubs for as cheap as USD$21 by economy carrier ryanair.
Royal Air Maroc also operates flights to Mohammed V International, serving the city of Casablanca, from New York-JFK and Washington Dulles in the States, and Montreal-Trudeau in Canada.
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com