afrol News, 10 December - Morocco's exotic inland city Marrakech has been named the top destination of UK's leading airliner British Airways (BA). Also Mauritius is on BA's top-ten list for 2011.
According to Willie Walsh, British Airways' CEO, the response the airliner had had to the launch of its route to "Marrakech has been incredible."
The US, Caribbean and Indian Ocean all feature heavily in the British airliner's top ten destinations for 2011, "but the pride of place goes to North African destination, Marrakech," the company said in a statement today. Mauritius was put on the ninth place on the same list.
Marrakech was made famous as an exotic thousand-and-one-night city in several movies classics in the 1950s, including "The man who knew too much". But still in the 1990s, tourism in Marrakech was mostly limited to those reaching the city by train.
Marrakech, as the only North African destination not located at the coast, meanwhile has become a major tourist attraction, with direct flight connections from most parts of Europe.
Cultural tourism is still the main market for the exotic city, with travellers flocking around the famous Djemaa el Fna square or the enormous crowded souk, a traditional market squeezed in among unspectacular houses in narrow alleys. The thousand-and-one-night feeling remains Marrakech's main attraction.
Meanwhile, a large range of hotels in all classes have popped up in Marrakech, providing visitors with an ever-increasing infrastructure. Many European travellers now even choose Marrakech as a weekend-trip destination.
British Airways, as such, is a later discoverer of the Moroccan city. Only in November, BA announced it would launch a service Marrakech from London Gatwick Airport on 27 March 2011, in direct competition with low-cost carriers.
BA marketing chief Richard Tams at the occasion said "Marrakech adds another fabulous destination to our leisure network at Gatwick and I am confident it will be a huge success. It is a great starting point to explore Morocco." The large response experienced in the two weeks following the announcement proved Mr Tam's optimism right.
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