Slowly but surely, Morocco is positioning itself as a leading destination in Northern Africa.
With its eclectic mix of Arabic, African, French, and Mediterranean influence, it’s a country quite like no other, and tourists from all over the world are quickly catching on.
According to the Moroccan Tourism Observatory, a total of 3.4 million tourists visited Morocco between January and April 2018, up 12 per cent compared to the same period in 2017. In a tourism statistics report provided for the month of April, the Observatory shared that the number of foreign tourists increased by 19 per cent, with metropolitan cities Marrakech and Agadir generating a whopping 61 per cent of those overnights in the month of April alone.
According to data provided by Morocco’s Director General of National Security, the number of arrivals tourists at border posts during the month April 2018 increased by four per cent over the 2017 year in the same month.
Intrepid Travel has seen 40 per cent growth in 2018 in Canadian bookings to Morocco, compared to 2017. So, how exactly do Canadian travel agents start booking more clients on a Morocco tour?
We spoke to Intrepid Travel’s head of business development in North America, Shayna Zand, to find out.
Pinning down the right package
Intrepid Travel currently offers 27 unique trips to Morocco. Some of those are stand-alone trips, and others combine stints in Europe, too.
“When selling any destination to a client, it’s important to understand your client’s needs. If your client is passionate about visiting Morocco and has a specific travel window, agents can filter Intrepid Travel’s 27 tours in Morocco by date and length of time,” Zand said. “There is much appeal from Canadian travellers to visit Europe and Africa in one trip. Morocco, although in Africa, is a short boat ride and an even shorter flight from Europe. Combining European countries with Moroccan cities is a diverse experience rich in culture, food and history. Starting in Portugal and ending in Morocco allows your clients to tie together African, Middle Eastern and European culture in the different countries.”
Know the product you’re presenting
Many tour operators are realizing that Morocco is currently a hot commodity. But only Intrepid Travel can craft a unique, one-of-a-kind adventure to the country that delivers on all three of the following promises:
- A carbon-neutral company, specializing in small-group adventure for 30 years
- Officially B Corp certified, meaning Intrepid is globally certified as a sustainable business
- Owns and operates its own local destination management company (PEAK DMC Marrakech, in Morocco).
“The key selling point for travel agents is that Intrepid is globally certified as a sustainable business, and our B-Corp certification, carbon neutrality and UN Global Compact signatory status sets our product apart as a business changing the way people see the world, while benefiting both people and the planet,” Zand said. “Therefore, clients know they are travelling responsibly with Intrepid Travel. By operating our own destination management network, we are able to ensure full quality control and receive minute-by-minute updates if necessary.”
Remember, it’s all about the experience
With a slogan that guarantees “real life experiences”, travellers who sign up for a trip with Intrepid Travel do so with adventure in mind. As such, it’s important for Canadian agents to note that in order for those escapades to take place, somebody who knows the destination inside and out needs to be involved.
PEAK DMC Marrakech, Intrepid Travel’s locally-owned and operated tour company, is responsible for hiring local guides.
“The Moroccan government imposes a government-regulated licensing test for all Moroccans wishing to be employed in tourism,” Zand explained. “Once a Moroccan has passed this government-regulated test to be verified as a mountain or city guide, Intrepid Travel’s local operating team has a rigorous and successful training process. The process ensures each guide knows the country, while fully understanding Intrepid Travel’s philosophy and values. The guides are trained both in the classroom and on-the-ground, ensuring a top-notch experience for all travellers.”
“Knowing that Intrepid Travel locally operates all of its trips gives travel agents peace of mind; they know that their clients are experiencing the exact trip they sold to them,” Zand said. “On the ground, your clients are taken care of, led by a local leader who brings his or her personal experience to the large number of included activities.”
What real travellers are saying
After taking part in Intrepid Travel's exciting Morocco: Hike, Bike & Horse Ride tour, we decided to talk to a few of the travellers who were a part of the group tour PAX was on, and see what made them choose Intrepid over any other tour operators currently selling trips to Morocco.
ON CHOOSING INTREPID TRAVEL:
PAX: Why did you select Intrepid Travel to discover Morocco? What appealed to you, versus other tour operators offering a similar product?
Mark: Intrepid has a good reputation for sustainable travel and a bit of an adventurous bend which I like, plus the dates worked out perfectly for my last-minute booking.
Adrian: Because we are adventurous and we liked what they offered.
Melina: It offered remote places and the guide made it easier to get there.
Colleen: Intrepid has a good name for sustainable/affordable tourism and puts something back into the community. It encourages interaction with the locals rather than just being a bunch of sightseers.
ON GROUP TRAVEL:
PAX: Do you normally travel with a tour operator, or in a group? If yes, how was the overall experience different? If no, did you find that there were things you experienced in Morocco that you maybe wouldn’t as a solo traveller?
Sybille: It was the first time I travelled in a group; I’ve been travelling (backpacking) before on my own, but for longer trips. We did more activities as they were already organised and usually you lose a lot of time organising things on a solo trip. It was perfect for exploring an exotic country in one week and doing all of these activities.
Mark: I usually travel solo, but a for a place I’m unfamiliar with like Morocco, using a tour operator was a great choice as I got to experience things I usually wouldn’t, such as spending a night in a gîte or dining with a local family in Marrakech.
Elly: Having a local guide/tour operator gives a lot of piece of mind that if something isn't going as planned (and it happens) then there is someone who speaks and understands the language and culture in order to help resolve whatever is wrong. It also allowed us to see things that I would not have tried on my own.
Sharon: So far, I’ve done all- inclusive, cruise, condo rental, hotel rental, and now our first guided small group tour. The small group tour was great in that local knowledge was instantly available, the language barrier was essentially eliminated, travel and accommodation details were built in, area highlights were included according to our interest, and we were able to participate in authentic, local experiences.