Moroccan King Mohammed VI has recently appointed Fathiya Banis as the new Director General of the Moroccan Tourism Authority, reported Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. Prior to this latest appointment, Banis was the first Moroccan woman ever to serve as the Director General of the Casablanca Stock Exchange.
Upon joining the authority, Banis announced a long-term tourism promotion strategy, targeting ten million visitors to Morocco by the year 2010. Five billion dollars will be invested during this period in the kingdom’s tourism sector, she added.
Banis has called for placing tourism at the top priority of Morocco’s economic development plan. She stated that her tourism promotion strategy aims to enlarge local hotel occupancy capacity from current 93,000 beds to 120,000 beds by the year 2003. Additionally, the program hopes to reach a goal of creating a total of 160,000 hotel beds by the year 2010.
The Moroccan treasury ministry, which is in charge of running the tourism sector in Morocco following the cancellation of the tourism ministry, has recently adopted this emergency scheme to activate the local tourism sector.
Official statistics show that the Moroccan tourism sector recorded an average 17 percent growth rate annually in the years 1999 and 2000. These figures indicate that 2.5 million foreign tourists visited Morocco during the year 2000.
According to Banis, the tourism sector contributes a total of 8.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). She added that the new strategy would raise this figure to 13 percent over the next five years. ― (MENA Report)
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