Tourism in Morocco

Morocco: (Marruecos, en español al final del texto)

Is a unitary sovereign state located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterised by a rugged mountainous interior, large tracts of desert and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Salé, Fes, and Meknes. A historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Since the foundation of the first Moroccan state by Idris I in 788, the country has been ruled by a series of independent dynasties, reaching its zenith under the Almoravid and Almohad dynasty, spanning parts of Iberia and Northwestern Africa. Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, and Morocco remained the only North African country to avoid Ottoman occupation. The Alaouite dynasty, the current ruling dynasty, seized power in 1631. In 1912, Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier, and regained its independence in 1956. Moroccan culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.

Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a guerrilla war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the Constitutional court.

Morocco’s predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic and Berber. The Moroccan dialect, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken. Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union. It has the fifth largest economy of Africa.

The Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, that started in the middle of the 7th century, was achieved by the Umayyad Caliphate early into the following century. It brought both the Arabic language and Islam to the area. Although part of the larger Islamic Empire, Morocco was initially organized as a subsidiary province of Ifriqiya, with the local governors appointed by the Muslim governor in Kairouan.

The indigenous Berber tribes adopted Islam, but retained their customary laws. They also paid taxes and tribute to the new Muslim administration. The first independent Muslim state in the area of modern Morocco was the Kingdom of Nekor, an emirate in the Rif Mountains. It was founded by Salih I ibn Mansur in 710, as a client state to the Umayyad Caliphate. After the outbreak of the Berber Revolt in 739, the Berbers formed other independent states such as the Miknasa of Sijilmasa and the Barghawata.

According to medieval legend, Idris ibn Abdallah had fled to Morocco after the Abbasids’ massacre of his tribe in Iraq. He convinced the Awraba Berber tribes to break their allegiance to the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad and he founded the Idrisid dynasty in 788. The Idrisids established Fes as their capital and Morocco became a centre of Muslim learning and a major regional power. The Idrissids were ousted in 927 by the Fatimid Caliphate and their Miknasa allies. After Miknasa broke off relations with the Fatimids in 932, they were removed from power by the Maghrawa of Sijilmasa in 980.

As Europe industrialised, North Africa was increasingly prized for its potential for colonisation. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830, not only to protect the border of its Algerian territory, but also because of the strategic position of Morocco on two oceans. In 1860, a dispute over Spain’s Ceuta enclave led Spain to declare war. Victorious Spain won a further enclave and an enlarged Ceuta in the settlement. In 1884, Spain created a protectorate in the coastal areas of Morocco.

In 1904, France and Spain carved out zones of influence in Morocco. Recognition by the United Kingdom of France’s sphere of influence provoked a strong reaction from the German Empire; and a crisis loomed in 1905. The matter was resolved at the Algeciras Conference in 1906. The Agadir Crisis of 1911 increased tensions between European powers. The 1912 Treaty of Fez made Morocco a protectorate of France, and triggered the 1912 Fez riots. Spain continued to operate its coastal protectorate. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern Saharan zones.

Tens of thousands of colonists entered Morocco. Some bought up large amounts of the rich agricultural land, others organised the exploitation and modernisation of mines and harbours. Interest groups that formed among these elements continually pressured France to increase its control over Morocco – a control which was also made necessary by the continuous wars among Moroccan tribes, part of which had taken sides with the French since the beginning of the conquest. Governor general Marshall Hubert Lyautey sincerely admired Moroccan culture and succeeded in imposing a joint Moroccan-French administration, while creating a modern school system. Several divisions of Moroccan soldiers (Goumiers or regular troops and officers) served in the French army in both World War I and World War II, and in the Spanish Nationalist Army in the Spanish Civil War and after (Regulares). The institution of slavery was abolished in 1925.

Tangier’s population included 40,000 Muslims, 31,000 Europeans and 15,000 Jews.

Between 1921 and 1926, a Berber uprising in the Rif Mountains, led by Abd el-Krim, led to the establishment of the Republic of the Rif. The Spanish lost more than 13,000 soldiers at Annual in July–August 1921. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by French and Spanish troops.

In 1943, the Istiqlal Party (Independence Party) was founded to press for independence, with discreet US support. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.

France’s exile of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa sparked active opposition to the French and Spanish protectorates. The most notable violence occurred in Oujda where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year. In March 1956 the French protectorate was ended and Morocco regained its independence from France as the “Kingdom of Morocco”. A month later Spain ceded most of its protectorate in Northern Morocco to the new state but kept its two coastal enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla) on the Mediterranean coast. Sultan Mohammed became king in 1957.

Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Moroccan economy. It is well developed with a strong tourist industry focused on the country’s coast, culture, and history. Morocco attracted more than 10 million tourists in 2013. Tourism is the second largest foreign exchange earner in Morocco after the phosphate industry. The Moroccan government is heavily investing in tourism development, in 2010 the government launched its Vision 2020 which plans to make Morocco one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world and to double the annual number of international arrivals to 20 million by 2020, with the hope that tourism will then have risen to 20% of GDP.

A large government sponsored marketing campaigns to attract tourists advertised Morocco as a cheap and exotic, yet safe, place for tourists, most of the visitors to Morocco continue to be European, with French nationals making up almost 20% of all visitors. Most Europeans visit in April and the autumn, apart from the Spanish, who mostly visit in June and August In 2013. Morocco’s relatively high number of tourists has been aided by its location, Morocco is close to Europe and attracts visitors to its beaches. Because of its proximity to Spain, tourists in southern Spain’s coastal areas take one- to three-day trips to Morocco.

Air services between Morocco and Algeria have been established, many Algerians have gone to Morocco to shop and visit family and friends. Morocco is relatively inexpensive because of the devaluation of the dirham and the increase of hotel prices in Spain. Morocco has an excellent road and rail infrastructure that links the major cities and tourist destinations with ports and cities with international airports. Low-cost airlines offer cheap flights to the country.

Tourism is increasingly focused on Morocco’s culture, such as its ancient cities. The modern tourist industry capitalises on Morocco’s ancient Roman and Islamic sites, and on its landscape and cultural history. 60% of Morocco’s tourists visit for its culture and heritage. Agadir is a major coastal resort and has a third of all Moroccan bed nights. It is a base for tours to the Atlas Mountains. Other resorts in north Morocco are also very popular.

Casablanca is the major cruise port in Morocco, and has the best developed market for tourists in Morocco, Marrakech in central Morocco is a popular tourist destination, but is more popular among tourists for one- and two-day excursions that provide a taste of Morocco’s history and culture. The Majorelle botanical garden in Marrakech is a popular tourist attraction. It was bought by the fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980. Their presence in the city helped to boost the city’s profile as a tourist destination.

As of 2006, activity and adventure tourism in the Atlas and Rif Mountains are the fastest growth area in Moroccan tourism. These locations have excellent walking and trekking opportunities from late March to mid-November. The government is investing in trekking circuits. They are also developing desert tourism in competition with Tunisia.

Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilisation. Through Moroccan history, it has hosted many people coming from East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and North (Romans, Andalusians). All those civilisations have affected the social structure of Morocco. It hosts various forms of beliefs, from paganism, Judaism, and Christianity to Islam.

Moroccan cuisine is considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of Morocco with the outside world.The cuisine of Morocco is mainly a fusion of Moorish, European and Mediterranean cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber cuisine (sometimes referred to as the Moorish cuisine). It is also Influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they took refuge in Morocco after the Spanish Reconquista.





Se encuentra separado del continente europeo por el estrecho de Gibraltar. Limita con Argelia al este —la frontera se encuentra cerrada desde 1994—, al suroeste con el Sahara Occidental, al norte con España, su principal socio comercial con el que comparte tanto fronteras marítimas como terrestres —Ceuta, Melilla y las plazas de soberanía— y al sur con Mauritania. Ocupa parte del Sahara Occidental, tras la marcha verde de 1975, la firma del Acuerdo Tripartito de Madrid, y la interrupción del proceso de descolonización y abandono de España del territorio.

En 1984 la asamblea de la Organización para la Unidad Africana (OUA), instancia predecesora de la UA y de la cual Marruecos era miembro fundador, aceptó como miembro a la República Árabe Saharaui Democrática (RASD).​ Como respuesta, Marruecos se retiró de la organización. Es miembro de la Liga Árabe, Unión del Magreb Árabe, la Francofonía, la Organización de la Conferencia Islámica, la Unión por el Mediterráneo, la Unión Europea de Radiodifusión, el Grupo de los 77 y el Centro Norte-Sur. Es también un aliado importante no-OTAN de los Estados Unidos. Además es el país del mundo árabe donde es más estudiado el idioma español. Más de 80.000 estudiantes según la información provista por el Instituto Cervantes en 2015.

Desde 1984 hasta 2017, fue el único país africano que no era miembro de la Unión Africana. El estado marroquí fue readmitido con mayoría absoluta, el 30 de enero de 2017, durante la XXVIII Cumbre de la Unión Africana, sucedida en Etiopía.

Marruecos se modernizó a finales del siglo VII, con la llegada del Islam, que produjo la conversión de muchos bereberes y la formación de estados como el Emirato de Nekor en el actual Rif. Uqba ibn Nafi, conquistador del Magreb en el siglo VII, alcanzó las costas atlánticas en las playas de Massa, se introdujo en el océano con su caballo y puso a Alá como testigo de que no quedaban más tierras por conquistar. El país pronto perdió el control del distante Califato Abasí de Bagdad bajo el poder de Idrís I, fundador de la de los idrisíes en el año 789. Marruecos se convirtió en el centro de aprendizaje y la mayor potencia regional.

El país alcanzó su mayor poderío cuando una serie de dinastías bereberes reemplazaron a los idrisíes árabes. Primero los almorávides, después los almohades, quienes venían a Marruecos tras gobernar gran parte del noroeste africano, así como grandes territorios de la península ibérica o al-Ándalus. Pequeños estados de la región, como Barghawata y Banu Isam, fueron conquistados. El imperio se derrumbó a causa de un largo periodo de guerras civiles.

Las ciudades imperiales de Marruecos son las cuatro capitales históricas de Marruecos: Fes, Marrakech, Meknes y Rabat.

En los siglos XV y XVI Portugal empezó una política expansionista en África, que en Marruecos tenía como objetivo controlar la costa y las actividades de piratería. La primera iniciativa importante fue la toma de Ceuta (1415), que ya no volvería a manos magrebíes; ésta fue seguida por Arcila y Tánger (1471), Mogador (1506), Safí (1508), y Mazagán (1513). Pese a las poderosas fortificaciones levantadas, pronto las plazas del sur tuvieron que ser progresivamente abandonadas, frente a los constantes ataques musulmanes.

Por su parte, tropas españolas al mando de Pedro de Estopiñán conquistaron la ciudad de Melilla en 1497, que pasó a depender del señorío territorial de los duques de Medina Sidonia, y a partir de 1556, de la Corona española. Desde 1580, cuando Felipe II fue coronado rey de Portugal, las posesiones portuguesas pasaron a integrar el Imperio español. En 1640 Portugal recobró su independencia, pero Ceuta permaneció bajo control español, situación que aún se mantiene.

Tánger fue cedida por los portugueses a Inglaterra en 1661, como parte de la dote de Catalina de Braganza, cuando esta princesa se casó con el rey Carlos II. Los ingleses, frente a la continua presión marroquí, decidieron abandonarla el 6 de febrero de 1684.

El turismo en Marruecos está bien desarrollado, con una fuerte industria turística centrada en el país, la cultura y la historia. Marruecos ha sido uno de los países políticamente más estables en el norte de África, lo que ha permitido que el turismo se desarrolle. El gobierno marroquí creó un Ministerio de Turismo en 1985. Marruecos en 2013 se convierte en el país más turístico de África al alcanzar el umbral simbólico de 10 millones de visitantes. Para 2020-2022, Marruecos ha fijado la meta de llegar a 20 millones de turistas, para estar en el “Top 20 destinos en el mundo”, dijo el ministro marroquí de Turismo en el 2014. Además, Marruecos cuenta con nueve sitios declarados patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco.​ Los destinos más visitados de Marruecos son: Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez, Tánger.

    Los idiomas oficiales de Marruecos son:

A nivel nacional: el árabe clásico y el bereber.

Los idiomas no oficiales de Marruecos son:

El árabe marroquí, conjunto de variedades de árabe dialectal habladas en Marruecos.

Lenguas bereberes (rifeño, tamazight y tashelhit) que se utilizan diariamente en las regiones montañosas de Marruecos.

El francés es la lengua del comercio; la enseñanza superior se imparte en francés.

El español: Regiones del Rif, Yebala y Tarfaya debido a que en el pasado conformaron el Protectorado español de Marruecos.

En el Sáhara Occidental, administrado por Marruecos: el español y el árabe tradicional de la zona (hassanía), son ampliamente usados y son oficiales para la RASD.

El árabe clásico es el idioma de la legislación aunque las leyes también se traducen al francés y a veces al español

La cocina marroquí es la cocina mayormente de dieta mediterránea se caracteriza por su variedad de origen principalmente árabe y bereber con platos con la influencias de la cocina judía. A pesar de su común con las cocinas de otros países del norte de África, la cocina marroquí ha mantenido su originalidad y sus características culturales únicas. La cocina marroquí ofrece una variedad de platos: cuscús, tajín, pastela, cordero asado, briouats (pequeños pasteles triangulares rellenas de carne o pescado). Hay además, otros platos típicos de Marruecos: mrouzia, tanjia marrakchí (tradicional en la región de Marrakech), harira (sopa para romper el ayuno en Ramadán), la seffa, ensalada marroquí,​ shebbakiyya.