Morocco has become the first tourist destination in Africa as it has received over 10 million tourists a year since 2014. Some of its cities, Marrakech, Casablanca and Fez, are famous worldwide and thus, the tourist industry is one of the prime drivers of economic growth. In addition, this is the first non-European destination for Spanish people and the golf industry is one of its main attractions. Its closeness to Spain, its climate and very competitive value for money make golf the most important tourist attraction in the country. In fact, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, IAGTO, chose Marrakech to hold the IGTM 2019 (International Travel Market), the most important international trade fair in the golf travel industry.
Golf tradition in Morocco is over a hundred years old and the country has over 40 golf courses so tourists can play golf throughout the country.
Tell us about your career and how you started working in the travel and golf industry.
Well, we have to go back twenty years when I arrived in Estepona after working as a businessman in France. I set up a holiday rental company with a friend who played golf. Back then, I didn’t use to play golf but I was a golf enthusiast so I thought about offering weekly golf packages on the Costa del Sol that included green fees for the golf courses in the area. It was then that I met Jamal Lamarti, the Managing Director of Golf Tánger who works with us now.
As our packages were very successful, five years ago I decided to design a web page in French to sell golf trips in Andalucía and at the same time I set up a company with Jamal in Morocco to organize trips there. That was the start of golf-andaluousie and golfmaroc.net. Now we operate on the Costa del Sol and we have agreements with all the golf courses from Sotogrande to Málaga.
What services do you offer travelers? What is the tour like from the moment you make a reservation to your arrival at the destination and once you are there?
Having Jamal Lamarti in Morocco is an added incentive as it is a real comfort to have someone who guides you in your destination. When our customers make a reservation on our web pages either from Morocco or from Spain, they can be certain that they will be assisted by professionals who do excellent work. Also, we have a wide variety of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets as we have agreements with many hotels and nearly 80% of golf courses in Morocco.
We offer full trip packages that include plane tickets, airport-hotel transfer and hotels in Tánger, Rabat, Marrakech and Agadir. You can do everything on our web page; however, if customers need to contact us we will be able to assist them as part of the team is here in Spain.
Jamal Lamarti is an ex-professional and former golf managing director in Tánger; he is also part of Golfmaroc. What are his responsibilities?
Jamal is in Morocco to contact hotels and golf courses. In addition, he receives large groups, organizes transfers, hotel stays and green fees. He has a long career as a professional in the golf industry and he has a lot of contacts in the golf world in Morocco.
What would you say to someone who is going to play golf in Morocco?
Morocco is an exotic golf destination a few hours away from Spain. There are less than two hours from Madrid to Marrakech and it is an entirely different world. It has excellent quality golf courses and good weather. Take Marrakesh as an example. It has thirteen golf courses and it is a complete destination in itself. There are top quality itineraries, luxury hotels and green fees cost 80 Euros maximum in high season.
How many golf courses are there in Morocco and where are they located?
To set the scene for readers, after a trip to the United States, King Hassan II brought golf back with him. Following Bill Casper’s advice, he built the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones and for the grand opening of the course; the King organized an international competition in 1971, the Hassan II Trophy. I tell you all this to show authorities commitment to golf. In fact, the President of the Moroccan Golf Federation is the king’s brother who uses golf to promote this destination.
Nowadays, there are over 40 golf courses in Morocco. This is the only country in the Middle East with such a high number of courses. In Morocco there are three cities that can be considered golf destinations: Marrakech has three golf courses; Agadir has five courses and the area Rabat/Casablanca.
What other attractions does Morocco offer apart from golf?
I will mention briefly: hospitality, culture and gastronomy.
We know prices are not the same as in Europe. What would you say is the value for money in Morocco?
I would say it is extraordinary. Morocco has golf courses to suit all budgets from 30 Euros to 80 Euros in high season and quality matches prices. There are top quality courses like the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam (Rabat) where its Red itinerary is as good as Valderrama (Sotogrande) and its green fee is just 100 Euros.