Morocco : 85,000 Russian tourists in 2016


12 new tourism agreements between Morocco and Russia will attract 85,000 Russian visitors to Morocco in 2016, the head of the Moroccan National Tourism Office for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Samir Sussi Riah, announced on Friday.

“We have signed about 12 agreements with Russian travel companies to attract about 85,000 tourists from Russia to Morocco in 2016,” Riah told Sputnik, a Russian news source, during the ongoing Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT).

The exhibition – considered to be the largest event in the Russian travel sector – is expected to host more than 1,850 companies and tour operators from 192 countries.

Riah added that Morocco has become one of the countries popular with Russian tourists, especially after King Mohammed VI of Morocco’s official visit to Russia, which highlighted the developing camaraderie between the two countries.

In mid-March, the Moroccan monarch paid an official visit to Russia, during which he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials about bilateral cooperation on international issues, such as counter-terrorism and the war in Syria. The two countries signed a number of agreements and memorandums in various spheres, one of which officialized Russia’s support of Morocco in the Western Sahara issue.

Last December, a delegation from Morocco also visited Moscow in order secure agreements with Russian tour operators to promote Morocco as an alternative for destinations banned for Russian tourists.

In November, Russia suspended flights to Egypt following the Russian plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula. Less than a month later, Moscow banned travel to Turkey after the Turkish military downed a Russian warplane.

Zainab Calcuttawala

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