MOROCCO – Marrakesh welcomed nearly three million tourists in 2019, the Regional Council of Tourism has said.

Marrakesh’s 2019 figures were up 8% from 2018 as Morocco’s ochre city continues to attract tourists from across the world.

Increased tourism in 2019 was a positive improvement on 2018  which had already been a big year for tourism in Marrakesh.

Overnight stays at “classified” hotels and other accommodations increased by 15% from 2017 to 2018, with just over 8.5 million overnight stays.

Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism notes that Marrakesh’s statistics marked the biggest year-on-year increase of any city in the country in 2018.

The 3 million visitors to Marrakesh maintain the city’s status as the primary destination for tourists in Morocco, with the coastal city of Agadir coming second.

Data from the Ministry of Tourism reveal that sixty percent of all overnight tourist stays in Morocco were in either Marrakesh or Agadir in 2018.

The average length of stay for tourists visiting Marrakesh has however, declined slightly in the last decade.

In 2010, tourists spent 3.6 days on average in the imperial city, this gradually reduced and by 2018, they spent 3.3 days on average.

The same is true of Agadir, where tourists spent 6.1 days on average in 2010 and 5.2 days on average in 2018.

In the first half of 2019, Marrakesh noted an increase in accommodation occupancy rates to 63% from 58% in the same period in 2017, a boon for the city’s tourism industry.

Marrakesh was one of only two cities in Africa, along with Cape Town, to land on the list of the top 50 beautiful cities in the world by the Canadian online travel company Flight Network.

Perhaps part of the city’s charm is its relative affordability compared to nearby European destinations.

Last year, the British company Starling highlighted Marrakesh as one of the world’s most affordable travel destinations.

The ochre city welcomed many notable international guests in 2019, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, who visited in September.

Hollywood actresses Jessica Alba and Lupita Nyong’o also visited Marrakesh in April for a Dior fashion show. British actor Idris Elba even chose Marrakesh as his wedding venue.