Morocco Aims to Become Tourism Hotspot for Israelis

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Tourism Minister Fettah Alaoui is out to increase the number of Israeli visits and sees it as a challenge.

“I’ve heard many Israelis have traveled to Dubai since peace agreements were signed [with Israel],” said Minister Alaoui.

“I am not surprised about that but I am intent on putting Morocco at the top of the list of favored destinations and I intend to work hard to overtake Dubai.”

Alaoui estimates at least 50,000 Israelis had already visited the kingdom before diplomatic relations between the nations thawed in December.

Many Israelis of Moroccan decent visit family members still living there or those that have passed away and are buried in local cemeteries.

“We want that number to grow to 200,000 per year,” she said.

“Talks are underway to formalize air travel agreements. Airliners both in Israel and Morocco are already standing by. We plan to make sure the visa process is quick and simple so that tourists are given their entry visas electronically upon arrival,” Alaoui said.

“I believe the big cities will be most popular destination but want to suggest our beaches and desert too. We also offer ecological tourism which I believe will experience a boom when the coronavirus pandemic ends,” she said.

The Moroccan Jewish community is already prepared to host the Israeli tourists and are expanding their ability to offer kosher food and to prepare the infrastructure needed to house Israelis near Jewish heritage sites.

King Mohammad VI has given his support to a renovation project for 119 Jewish cemeteries. Some are the resting place of tzaddikim and many Israelis of Moroccan decent come to pray there.

The king is also supporting the construction of a Jewish cultural center in the city of Fez.

“We ensure the safety of all tourists visiting our country and Israelis can feel secure when visiting,” the minister said.