An increasingly touristy country, Morocco is a valued destination. However, it's important to be up to date with certain social, cultural and religious facts before going there.
With its beautiful and varied scenery, from the Grand Atlas Mountains to the beaches of the North and West, from its deserts to its incredible tropical valleys, Morocco will appeal to any fan of nature and beauty.
And don't forget the warmth and generosity of its inhabitants, with the impressive welcome they extend, particularly in the countryside and the mountains. There, the best option is to spend the night in a guesthouse, or even with one of the inhabitants. One piece of advice – never refuse hospitality from the locals, who will often receive you like royalty, and allow you to discover the country in a more authentic and original way.
Many travellers on a trip to Morocco set off to discover its palaces, with their amazing and luxurious gardens, or to wind their way through the magnificent Medina quarters and labyrinthine souks of many fairytale towns: Marrakech, Essaouira, Chefchaouen, Fès, etc.
There's no doubt about it, what with low cost airlines and the economy of mass tourism, Morocco is a highly prized tourist destination these days, fashionable and, what's more, well-priced. Europeans head there for a few days or even a weekend, staying in one of many riads, hotels which are popping up all over the country. But, stepping off the beaten track and away from the tourist bus zones, you'll find an authentic and exciting country.
Significant changes and developments are in store for Morocco's future... By 2020, the Moroccan government is planning to create 200,000 extra beds to welcome new tourists, hoping to receive double the current number of visitors, which puts the estimation at 20 million. They've called the plan '2020 Vision'.
Tourism plays a significant role in the country's GDP (more than 8%), and the country will be counting on it to bolster the economy in the coming years. For example, in 2013, tourism was the country's leading source of foreign currency, bringing in more than €5.5 billion!
In Morocco, there are three 'sensitive' subjects, which are treated more or less openly by domestic media: the king, religion and the question of the Eastern Sahara.
King Mohamed VI is respected, and it is taboo to speak badly of him in public in the majority of places in Morocco. You'll certainly be able to discuss the topic in some depth with the locals, who'll have differing, and occasionally negative, opinions, but it's not the done thing to speak about it in a crowd.
Islam plays a daily and essential role in the country, so visitors on a trip to Morocco are asked to respect the place of services, various festivals like Ramadan and all the local religious traditions.
As for the question of the Eastern Sahara, the British government officially advises those travelling to the country not to visit the area of the Mauritanian border.