Morocco to tap into UK meetings sector

Morocco is looking to boost its share of the UK’s meetings market with a five-year overhaul of its conference infrastructure and dedicated promotional campaigns. Five resorts are under construction at Guelmim, Taghazout, Larache, Saidia and Haouzia, all of which will offer meeting facilities, according to Morocco National Tourist Office (MNTO) director for the UK & Ireland Ali El Kasmi. "We have substantial infrastructure for the C&I market and we’re continuing to improve choice," said Kasmi. "Our biggest challenge now is getting the message across to the UK market that Morocco is so close – only three hours flight away – and it is a unique destination." To keep the UK industry aware of the developments the MNTO will embark on a promotional campaign in the second half of the year, including direct mail and advertising. Kasmi added that growing business from the UK is a priority and both the MNTO and national airline, Royal Air Maroc, are continuing with a series of fam trips. Further developments in Morocco include the opening of a Sofitel Thalassa in Essaouira, an Ibis in Meknes and another in Tangier, and a four-star kasbah Ben Moro Hotel in Ouarzazate. This year will also see the opening of three five-star properties in Agadir; the Tikida Dunes, an Iberostar and a Westin. A Sofitel will open in Marrakesh and the Kempinski Group has taken over the five-star Eddahbi Hotel and convention centre in Marrakesh. Six weekly flights from Stansted to Marrakesh have been moved to Gatwick, in addition to a daily flight from Heathrow. Royal Air Maroc is also looking to launch more flights during the 2002 winter season.

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