This report highlights Casablanca as a rising African hub for leisure and business tourism. Boosted by a rapidly expanding economy, the government has been investing to modernise infrastructure as well as to push Morocco’s transition towards the digital age. From the revitalisation of the cultural scene of the city with a regional resonance, to becoming the unavoidable gateway to the great economic potential of Africa, Casablanca is on its way to the status of a global city.
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International arrivals were positively impacted over 2015-2016 with an increase in the number of trips, primarily due to visa regulations introduced in June 2016 making it easier for Chinese citizens to enter Morocco. Although Chinese clientele remained small in volume terms in 2016, the number was greater than the year before.
Casablanca Finance City is the first government-sponsored financial hub in Africa, offering attractive fiscal incentives for foreign companies. With the re-entry into the African Union in early 2017, this is expected to further enhance business tourism.
Moroccan business and domestic tourism is set to grow with government investment in infrastructure in urban areas. Africa’s first high-speed railway (TGV) is set to launch in 2018, reducing travel time between Tangier and Casablanca by at least two hours.
While 4- and 5-star establishments dominate the hotel market in Morocco, Hilton continues to expand further, and will open its first hotel in Casablanca in 2021.
Royal Air Maroc launched direct flights from Manchester to Casablanca in 2017. It also opened new route network services connecting 33 African destinations. Emirates Airlines is expected to operate the first commercial A380 flight, which will provide bigger seat capacity to Casablanca and North Africa, in the first part of 2017.
Casablanca is witnessing a cultural boom, with its international festivals and aspiration to introduce more cultural activities, part of the 2015-2020 Casablanca integrated development plan.