With all of the world’s most popular travel destinations back to being overrun with tourists, more and more travelers are turning their focus to lesser-known countries that are not only less crowded but where prices are also far lower than average.
All of a sudden, destinations like Albania, in Eastern Europe, Georgia, in the lesser-explored Caucasus, and Vietnam, in Southeast Asia are all rising to the upper brackets of the visitor charts, yet the (vast) continent of Africa has remained largely ignored amid the tourism revival, though not for long.
Though the ‘Mother Continent’ still trails behind other continents in tourism, there is one African country in particular that holds the potential to become a major international hub:
Morocco Is One Of The Most Promising Tourist Destinations Right Now
As expected, owing it to its wide array of attractions, Morocco is flourishing as a tourist destination in 2023, registering an 86% year-on-year increase in overnight stays in classified tourist accommodation establishments (EHTC) for the first half of 2023.
According to the Tourism Observatory, non-resident tourists are behind the surge in bookings, with a whopping 134% annual increase, and all major cities have posted incredible results for the first semester.
One of the five most popular African destinations, Marrakech raced ahead with a 115% increase in overnight stays, followed by the coastal resort city of Agadir, with an 80% growth.
Casablanca ranks third with a 63% increase, leaving Tangier (58%) in fourth place, Fez in fifth (75%), and Rabat in sixth (49%).
But why is Morocco so popular right now, and why are Western tourists flocking to this African jewel?
The Jewel Of North Africa
Africa’s Northwesternmost state, Morocco is an ancient land that has collected millennia upon millennia of a fascinating History. Having been ruled by Roman polities, Moorish caliphates, and more recently, up until its independence, by European colonial powers, it is the textbook definition of a cultural melting pot.
Its cities are breaking tourism records, and to be quite honest, we’re not surprised.
Vibrant City Breaks
They are distinct for their vibrant, signature colors, with the skyline in Marrakesh being pink-tinged as a result of the earthy tones of its medieval medina, Tangier’s a more modest Mediterranean-style white, and the houses in Chefchaouen painted electric shades of blue.
Each of them seems to have a characteristic color and unique attributes that set them apart from the rest. One thing they all have in common, however, is their boundless cultural wealth.
Strolling the maze-like streets of Fes, the largest medina built by man and still the world’s largest pedestrianized zone, visitors will be mesmerized by the elaborate design of the 15th-century madrasas, the intriguing odors emanating from the tanneries, and the tall, perfectly-symmetrical minarets.
In Casablanca, Morocco’s bustling globalized metropolis and largest city, it’s all about lively bazaars and wet markets, glitzing skyscrapers, stately mosques, and upscale restaurants, while Rabat, the country’s capital, is Casablanca’s smaller, less-chaotic, more traditional neighbor.
As you might have guessed, there is something in Morocco for every traveler profile.
Other than its vibrant city breaks, the country is a seriously underrated beach hotspot, boasting extensive Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, with golden sands that are bounded by azure seas.
Morocco’s geographical diversity is one of its many strengths, as it encompasses arid landscapes, including a vast expanse of the Saharan desert, where glamping and camel-riding are popular activities, lush-green Mediterranean forests, and snow-capped peaks along the Atlas mountain range.
The best thing about it is: Morocco is hugely affordable if you’re earning in dollars, euros, or any other strong, stable currency.
Morocco Is Incredibly Cheap For Westerners
Though prices can vary greatly depending on destination, a Moroccan holiday will hardly break the bank.
In Casablanca, one of the most expensive cities, a single person’s estimated monthly costs stand at a mere $508.8 without rent, with low prices observed for food, transportation, and leisure.
A meal at an inexpensive restaurant averages a nearly-negligible $4.09, while a meal for two individuals in a mid-range eatery can cost $28.66, the equivalent to a cheap dining experience in places like New York, London, or Paris.
According to BudgetYourTrip, which gathered data from over 2,455 hotels in Morocco, the average price for an overnight stay is a reasonble $61, with an ever lower median price of $53.
These more accurately reflect rates for two- or three-star riads or guesthouses, not five-star resorts.
Those on a severely-limited budget will particularly benefit from Morocco’s lower-than-average prices, with riads, or mid-range hotels in Marrakech, the country’s leading tourist destination and gateway to both the Atlas and the Sahara, starting at just $48 this fall.
Hostels are even cheaper at $14.
Beware Of Scams
With this being said, tourists should always prepare to pay slightly more than the national average, either due to tourist taxation or scamming practices, as some business owners deliberately charge more or try and trick naive tourists into spending more than they have to.
In order to avoid being overcharged or scammed, it’s best to seek advice from your hotel concierge or accommodation provider on which places to eat, where to go, and which touristy areas to avoid, as some districts in Casablanca, Marrakesh, and Fes, may even be as expensive as Western Europe.
All in all, Morocco remains a very affordable destination with an immense offer that’s certain to blow your mind.
Morocco Is Easy To Travel To
As it is one of a handful of North African destinations to host nonstop flights from America – namely cities like New York (JFK), Washington (Dulles), and Montreal in Canada – it is also easy to reach.
Unlike much of the African continent, Morocco does not require Americans and Canadians to obtain a visa in advance as long as their stay does not exceed 90 days.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com