Coat of Arms
»Unitary parliamentaryconstitutional monarchy
»710,850 km2 (58th or 40th)
» Per capita -73.1/km2 (122nd)
» Per capita -$3,458
»Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. It is one of only three countries are commonly used as alternate names.
Morocco has a population of over 33 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi). Its political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador.
A historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours.
Its distinct culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.
Morocco’s economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatization of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government.
Morocco has become a major player in the African economic affairs and is the 5th African economy by GDP (PPP). Morocco was ranked the 1st African country by the Economist Intelligence Unit’ quality-of-life index, ahead of South Africa.
Government reforms and steady yearly growth in the region of 4–5% from 2000 to 2007, including 4.9% year-on-year growth in 2003–2007 helped the Moroccan economy to become much more robust compared to a few years ago.
The services sector accounts for just over half of GDP and industry, made up of mining, construction and manufacturing, is an additional quarter. The industries that recorded the highest growth are tourism, telecoms, information technology, and textile.
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 amount 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. Tourism is increasingly focused on Morocco’s culture, such as its ancient cities.
The modern tourist industry capitalizes 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.
- At just a few hours from the main European cities, Morocco has everything to overwhelm you with the amazing colours, smells and sounds of Islamic Africa.
- Imagine bustling souqs and spice markets, stunning mosques, white-washed sea side towns and medieval city centres.
- With panoramic views varying from snow-covered peaks in the High Atlas to the endless sand dunes of the Sahara, no-one ever has to be bored in this beautiful country.
- Movie-famous Casablanca might be the most famous of Moroccan cities and is home to the huge Hassan II mosque, the second largest mosque in the world with only the Grand Mosque of Mecca surpassing it.
- Many travellers quickly leave this vibrant and modernist metropolis on a search for a more traditional Moroccan experience, but admiring the impressive colonial architecture, Hispano-Moorish and art-deco outlook of the city centre is actually time well spent. Marrakesh, known as the “Red City” and probably the most prominent former imperial capital, will leave you with memories to cherish for life.
- Spend your days wandering through the lively souqs, admiring the old gates and defense walls, see the Saadian Tombs, the remnants of the El Badi Palace and visit the Koutoubia Mosque with its 12th-century minaret.
- However, when evening falls make sure to head back to Jamaa el-Fnaa, the largest square in Africa, as it fills up with steam-producing food stalls. Indulge in the bustling activity there, listen to Arabic story tellers, watch magicians and Chleuh dancers.
- Fez, once Morocco’s capital, is another gorgeous imperial city. Get lost in its lovely labyrinth of narrow Medieval streets, enjoy its huge medina, see the beautiful city gates, the ancientUniversity of Al-Karaouine and the Bou Inania Madrasa.