Fears Marrakesh blast will rock tourism economy

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Fears Marrakesh blast will rock tourism economy

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Thursday’s blast in Marrakesh did damage not only to human lives and buildings.

Moroccan authorities are determined to make sure confidence in the country as a tourist destination is restored.

It is an essential industry for Morocco providing a major chunk of the economy’s revenues and foreign currency earnings.

Jill Tully on holiday from Ireland said: “I do believe actually that this will have an impact. I booked this holiday some time ago. I think it is a great city but this would make me very apprehensive about coming here again. Tourism is so important for Marrakesh, it could have a knock on effect.”

French tourist Laurence Ouilry disagreed. “We would not have cancelled our trip even if this blast had happened before. We would have come to Morocco anyway,” she said. “We were very keen to come and I don’t think it would had any effect on us.”

According to the CIA’s World Factbook website, the service sector, which includes tourism, accounted for more than half of Morocco’s total economic output in 2009. The government is keen to protect it.

Morocco’s communications minister Khalid Ennacri said: “This a major blow to the heart of Morocco, to its tourist industry and to its international reputation in the Mediterranean.”

Tourism has been growing steadily in recent years. Commentators believe the Marrakesh explosion is typical of previous Islamist attempts to undermine Morocco’s rulers by targeting the tourist industry