Morocco has long been the dim light beckoning across the Strait of Gibraltar from continental Europe, drawing writers, poets, painters and dreamers to its bustling aromatic cities and its vast empty spaces.
It is to where Edith Wharton escaped for an adventurous visit at the end of WWI. No guidebooks; just the tomes of Ibn Buttata to lead the way. It is where Paul Bowles lived for most of his adult life to write such haunting works as The Sheltering Sky, initially prompted to visit the country by his friend, Gertrude Stein, who, herself found inspiration in the North African expanse. More recently, Yves St. Laurent adopted Marrakech as a delectable canvas and made his mark on the local cultural fabric.
But the travelers to Morocco these days are less apt to be poets and writers, and more likely to be young Instagrammers salivating over the ubiquitous cerulean dwellings amid desert palms, ferrous mountain rises and snowcapped peaks in a swirl of hues that mix well with the local drapey fashions donned for striking selfie shots.
Due to Instagram, as well as Morocco’s relatively long lasting stability, its commitment to protecting and buoying tourism, and the North African Kingdom’s interest in bridging business enterprise between Africa and Europe, the country has been seeing some good years. Tourism arrivals counted 13 million in 2019, up 5.2 percent from the previous year and contributing $8.16 billion to the country’s economy.
Expanded airline service, too, has contributed to Morocco’s upward trajectory. Europe remains ever close and affordable with lift from Easyjet and now Ryanair. British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, and Air France also offer direct and non-stop flights from key gateways in Europe.
From the US, Morocco is back in play with new and expanded service from Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and the first-ever nonstop flight by American Airlines to the African continent. Royal Air Maroc now offers non-stop service to Casablanca from Miami as well as Boston, New York JFK and Washington Dulles. It runs a codeshare with American Airlines to shuttle passengers beyond Casablanca to other destinations in Africa.
And it recently joined the oneworld alliance, which brings together 13 airlines and enables RAM to access more than a dozen new hubs as well as 1,035 destinations in 164 countries. Currently, RAM operates 100 air routes – 80 to international airports of which half are in Europe, 32 in Africa and five are in the Middle East.
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