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Morocco to Expand National Airline Amid Tourism Push

FILE - Tourists walk about in Jemaa el-Fnaa square in Morocco's Marrakesh on May 12, 2022.

RABAT — Morocco plans to quadruple the number of aircraft in its national carrier over the next 15 years to boost tourism, a pillar of the North African country's economy.

Royal Air Maroc (RAM) "will quadruple its air fleet" by increasing the number of its aircraft from 50 to 200 over the next 15 years, a statement from Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch's office said earlier this week.

Akhannouch and RAM chief Hamid Addou signed a modernization agreement in Rabat as part of a tourism development plan which aims to attract 65 million visitors annually to the country by 2037.

The carrier also plans new routes to international and domestic destinations.

Tourism is a major earner for the Moroccan economy, and tens of thousands of people work in the sector nationwide.

Tourism was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but has largely recovered, with around 11 million tourists visiting in 2022 — 84% of pre-pandemic arrivals in 2019.

Morocco hopes to attract 17.5 million tourists by 2026 with an expected revenue of 120 billion dirhams (about 12 billion US dollars), according to the tourism ministry.