Academic journal article Journal of Competitiveness Studies

An Analysis of the Competitiveness of the Moroccan Tourism Industry: Implications for Policy Development and Implementation

Academic journal article Journal of Competitiveness Studies

An Analysis of the Competitiveness of the Moroccan Tourism Industry: Implications for Policy Development and Implementation

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Global tourism experienced a banner year in 2012 when, for the first time ever, a record of over one billion international tourists ventured to the world's various tourist destinations. This achievement is particularly notable when seen against the backdrop of international tourism figures of just 25 million in the early 1950s (World Tourism Organization, 2013). Furthermore, an additional 5 billion people travelled within their own countries in 2012. The growth of the global tourism market and the associated growth in national and international transport activities present tourist oriented countries with new opportunities to compete for tourists from across the globe. However, to take advantage of these opportunities, these countries will have to adopt innovative approaches to strategy development for their tourist industries, paying particular interest to targeted tourism investments and the effective marketing of their tourism products.

Competition for international tourists has forced policy-makers and tourism industry leaders to evaluate their current tourism offerings and to develop new tourism strategies and policies that will help them meet the opportunities and challenges provided by the growth of the global tourism market. However, effective tourism strategies depend not only on elements such as the tourism plant, transport networks and the physical and human resources of a country, but also on an understanding of the country's current strengths and weaknesses relative to its major competitors. This is especially true for countries like Morocco, which rely on tourism as a major sector of their economy. For Morocco, a first step in this process is to direct some effort to comparing its existing tourism practices and performances with those of its major competitors in North Africa.

The objective of this study is to assist in providing a better understanding of the Moroccan tourist industry by comparing its tourist arrival growth pattern between 2008 and 2011 with that of its major competitors using shift-share analysis. This technique will directly compare tourist arrivals to Morocco with that of its major competitors in an attempt to discern, among other things, whether or not Morocco has a competitive advantage over its main competitors in attracting tourists from any of its tourist emitter regions and, if so, how they should seek to exploit such competitive advantages. In addition, a comparative analysis of the tourism competitiveness of Morocco and its main competitors is performed using indices obtained from the World Economic Forum's 2008 and 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness reports. Results from this comparative analysis should provide Morocco with information about its attractiveness for tourism-related business investments. The results of this research can be used by Morocco's tourism policy-makers to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of its tourism policy and to adjust its current strategies to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the growth of the global tourism market.

BACKGROUND

In 2007, the number of international tourists travelling worldwide reached 900 million. By 2012, this number had increased to over one billion. Since the 1950s the average annual rate of international tourism growth until 2012 has been 7.1%. Global tourism revenues have also experienced substantial growth. Worldwide tourism receipts grew from $733 billion in 2006 to $1,078 billion in 2012, or at an annual rate of increase of 6.6% (World Tourism Organization, 2013). According to the World Tourism Organization, the global tourism industry is expected to continue to grow at an annual rate of more than 6% until 2020.

Seaside tourism and business travel have traditionally been, and continues to be, the two major segments of the global tourism market. However, in recent years, tourists have started to seek non-traditional experiences, such as adventure tourism, rural-tourism and eco-tourism. …

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