Morocco capitalises on Atlas Lions' World Cup legacy to boost tourism
Morocco is expected to reach 37 million visitors in 2030 after the triumph of the Atlas Lions in the Qatar World Cup last year, announced the Moroccan National Airports Office Tuesday.
After two years of hiatus, tourism in Morocco is finally returning as the country lifted the remaining Covid travel restrictions last September.
In 2022, Morocco achieved a turnover of 3.9 billion MAD (US$390 million), an increase of 86 per cent compared to 2021.
During the latest parliament session, the Director General of the National Airports Office, Habiba Laqalech, announced that the North African kingdom will strongly capitalise on its football team's impressive journey in the World Cup to reach 37 million passengers in the next seven years.
Last year, the Moroccan men's football team became the first African and Arab team to reach the semi-finals in the international tournament.
Not only was the Atlas Lions' performance impressive, but it the players' profiles also became viral for their humour, good looks and celebratory dances, which prompted a "Morocco-mania" even among non-football fans.
The North African country witnessed a surge of 40% of visitors in the following two weeks of the World Cup.
Rabat was quick to capitalise on its team's charm, hosting the football club's World Cup two months after Qatar World Cup. Local media said Morocco welcomed over 50,000 football fans during the Mondialito.
Visit Morocco, an official website run by the Moroccan National Tourism Office, featured, right next to Marrakech wonders and Fes oldest Medrassas, a special page for the Atlas Lions' legacy titled "Morocco, land of football."
Morocco has also joined the Spain-Portugal bid to host the 2030 World Cup. If they secure the bid, the countries are expected to welcome over 2 million visitors.
The tourism industry in Morocco is a vital economic sector. It created over 2.5 million job opportunities by 2019 and represents about 8% of the country's GDP.