- Tourist arrivals to Morocco in January this year grew by 13 percent compared to the same month last year. The North African kingdom thus continues on its well-planned expansion of the important tourism sector. No other significant changes in the market were noted, with most tourists to Morocco still coming from France, Spain and Belgium.
It had also been these three principal markets that mainly had contributed to this year's significant growth in arrivals, according to reports in Morocco's daily 'La Vie Economique'. Arrivals from Belgium had even grown by 63 percent while 16 percent more Spaniards had visited Morocco in January 2005 than the year before.
The Moroccan Ministry of Tourism attributed this growth the "the results in the traditional markets, especially France." The growth in tourist arrivals however also is due to large ongoing investments in the sector throughout Morocco.
The especially large growth during this year further was explained by the recent commercialisation and air transport agreements signed between charter operators in France and Morocco, according to sources in the Rabat Ministry. At the same time, capacity had increased in Morocco.
The newly released statistics also revealed that the UK, Italy and Germany were following these positive developments in tourism towards Morocco. It was in particular charter tourism that was on the increase, but also individual travellers were increasingly finding their way to the kingdom.
That the growing number of arrivals was reflected by Morocco's booming capacity was demonstrated by the fact that the average hotel occupation rate had not increased significantly. The average occupation rate staid at around 38 percent, with the exception of Marrakech, Agadir and Casablanca. Most destinations were on the scale between 12 percent (Tétouan) and 39 percent (Rabat), regarding hotel bed occupation.
The publication of these positive trends comes after Morocco's National Tourism Office in January launched a new promotion campaign in the European tourism market. Total investments in the marketing campaign, which is to run throughout 2005, are estimated at euro 40 million. The campaign is to cover most of Europe's principal tourist markets.
Shortly after the crisis produced after the 11 September bombing, Morocco's tourism sector started recovering. Last year, a total of 5.5 million tourists visited the kingdom, which represents an 18 percent growth compared to 2003. These tourists left behind an estimated euro 3 billion during their stay in Morocco.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.