Only Egypt surpasses the Alawite kingdom as the most influential tourist nation on the African continent

Morocco enjoys Africa's second most exuberant cultural heritage

PHOTO/FILE - Morocco's cultural heritage has been ranked by USNews as the second richest in both the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the African continent, behind only Egypt

With the desire to see other places in full swing after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the word "travel" is making more sense than ever. And sustainable tourism is becoming an alternative to mass tourism, which contributes to the excessive consumption of natural resources and negatively affects the local communities located in the destinations. FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair, recently closed in Madrid after four days in which the organisers, the participating countries and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) discussed key issues such as attracting and retaining tourism investment, rural development, diversification, sustainability and accessibility.  

Morocco's cultural heritage has been ranked by USNews as the second richest in both the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the African continent, behind only Egypt. The Kingdom is a Muslim country located on the northwest wing of the African continent, with coastlines bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Situated less than an hour's ferry ride from Spain, Morocco has a unique blend of cultural influences from Arab, Berber, African and European areas. Unlike its neighbouring countries, Morocco has maintained, thanks to the projects dictated by Rabat, a high level of tourism that places it in 38th place in the world ranking. 


The Moroccan government has pursued privatisation and economic reform since the 1980s. The country now has an open and diverse market economy. Key sectors of the economy include agriculture, aerospace, phosphates, textiles and clothing. The tourism and telecommunications sectors are increasingly important. Morocco is known for its cuisine, which is admired and plagiarised around the world. The country's chefs make intensive use of local spices and ingredients, such as saffron, mint and olives.  Morocco's staple food, which often serves brochettes, soups and salads, is couscous. In addition to its mountainous interior and Caribbean coastline, the North African country has cities whose buildings are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the city of Fez and Casablanca, which combine the various Moroccan arts that give them unique designs.

The cultural sector in its various sections is no longer isolated from economic and development dynamics, as the cultural sector is now at the top of the concerns of countries that want to valorise their heritage as a soft power, such as creativity and innovation. Thus, Morocco, which has undertaken in recent years and continues to consolidate in its current and future directions, does not want to be less. The Moroccan Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, said the Kingdom is determined to promote the cultural industry and encourage investment in the sector. Entrepreneurship does not feature highly in the ranking. Despite this, they consider the Kingdom to be one of the best-connected countries. If there is one thing Morocco stands out for, it is its heritage; if it were the only yardstick for the ranking, Morocco would be the 16th country on the list. 


If we break down the USNews ranking, we find glimpses in almost all sectors that make us foresee that Morocco will be better placed in future rankings. Firstly, it highlights that Morocco is a country that is "scenic, fun, with a pleasant climate and good for tourism"; therefore, if Rabat's support for tourists and tourism continues, we would be talking about Morocco as a possible world reference. The report concludes, according to the figures, that it is a country where tourists adapt quickly to the Alawite lifestyle thanks to the dynamism that characterises the North African country's society. In terms of entertainment, USNews stresses that Morocco is a "significant" country in terms of entertainment, with a culture that is influential on both citizens and tourists. 

Among the highlights are gastronomy with a ranking of 7/10, history with the same score and cultural and geographical attractions that make the Kingdom a unique country with the capacity to cover any form of leisure demanded by the tourist. In relation to the movements within the nation, the Moroccan state is considered to be unbureaucratic and with a cheap manufacturing cost, so many companies decide to go to the Kingdom to undertake. On the economic front, Morocco is also highly dependent on its exports, which are increasing every year thanks in part to its strong international alliances with world powers such as France and the United States. 


Focusing on the quality of life of Moroccan citizens, the report highlights that the standard of living is affordable, with a high component of family affection, politically and economically stable and secure. Finally, the report notes that the Kingdom's main concerns are religious freedom, concern for the environment and climate change, racial equity and concern for animal rights. At the top of the list compiled by USNews are Italy, which tops the table for the fourth year in a row, France, the United States, Japan and Spain. As for possible comparisons with the Kingdom of Morocco, neither Libya nor Mauritania appear in the ranking, Algeria is at the bottom of the ranking (80 out of 85), and would only compete with South Africa, which is the third power on the continent, Kenya the fourth and Tunisia the fifth.