RABAT - A record 13 million tourists visited Morocco in 2019, up 5.2 percent from the previous year, official figures showed Wednesday.
The number includes Moroccans from the diaspora, who account for around half of visitors annually.
Tourism revenues hit 78.6 billion dirhams ($8.16 billion) in 2019, up from 73.04 billion dirhams ($7.58 billion) the year before, the Moroccan Tourism Observatory said.
It attributed the rise - for the first crossing the 12-million mark - to its primary markets, France and Spain.
The North African country has benefited from increased air links, with low-cost carriers launching new routes to Europe.
The former imperial city of Marrakesh, with its UNESCO-listed Old Town, and Agadir on the coast together accounted for 57 percent of the 25.2 million hotel stays last year, the Observatory said.
Morocco is targeting 60 million passenger arrivals at its 18 international airports by 2025.
The Morocco Aviation Authority (ONDA) has embarked on a number of expansions of its busiest airports to be able to meet the growing demand, especially in the summer season where air traffic reaches its climax.
“After the end of the expansion works of the terminals of Morocco’s main airports, one can say that the ONDA is in phase with the growing demand of the passengers from here and elsewhere,” a tourism ministry source told the media.
“Airports now have infrastructures large enough to handle their passage or transit, but in view of the growing flow of passengers, the ONDA does not intend to stop on such a good route,” said the source.
Tourism accounts for about 10 percent of GDP and is one of the country's main sources of foreign currency, alongside exports and remittances from Moroccans working abroad.