Casablanca almost universally referred to as 'Casa', may be the cosmopolitan, industrial and economic heart of Morocco and its largest city, but it is one of the less endearing in the country. With a small, unassuming medina and a traffic-congested ville nouvelle, travellers arriving via Casablanca may be tempted to find the first train out to nearby Rabat.
The awe-inspiring Hassan II Mosque and happening nightlife, however, are worth at least a day of your Moroccan itinerary.
The modern city of Casablanca was founded by Berber fishermen in the 10th Century BC and was subsequently used by the Phoenicians, Romans, and the Merenids as a strategic port called Anfa.
The Portuguese destroyed it and rebuilt it under the name Casa Branca, only to abandon it after an earthquake in 1755. The Moroccan sultan rebuilt the city as Daru l-Badya and it was given its current name of Casablanca by Spanish traders who established trading bases there.
The French occupied the city in 1907, establishing it as a protectorate in 1912 and starting construction of the ville nouvelle, however it gained independence with the rest of the country in 1956.
Casablanca is now Morocco's largest city with a population of almost 4 million and also boasts the world's largest artificial port but no ferry service of any kind .
Casablanca is also the most liberal and progressive of Morocco's cities. Young men flirt brazenly with scantily-clad women, designer labels are the norm in the chic, beachfront neighbourhood of 'Ain Diab and many young Moroccans speak to each other exclusively in French.
But not everyone is living the Casablancan dream. Tens of thousands of rural Moroccans who fled the drought-ravaged interior to find work in the city are struggling under high unemployment rates and expensive housing.
The poverty, prevalent in slums on the city's outskirts, has led to high rates of crime, drug use and prostitution.
Mohammed V International Airport (IATA: CMN) is the busiest gateway to the country and is well-connected to Europe. Royal Air Maroc flies to New York JFK,Canada, many cities in Europe, and has connecting flights to all northern and many other African countries such as Nigeria, Central African Republic, Senegal.
To get from the airport into Casablanca or vice versa, the most efficient way is to take the ONCF train, the airport train station name is AEROPORT Med V, which is at the airport basement level. The trains depart hourly to the city starting from 04:00 to 23:45 of the day, if going from city to airport, it's from 03:00 to 22:00.
The train schedule is available at the ONCF website in French. A single 2nd class ticket is 43 Durhams as of January 2017. There are 5 stations at this airport train line: AEROPORT Med V, L'Oasis, Mers Sultan, Casa Voyageurs and Casa Port, full journey takes 45 min.
Casa Port station is more close to the center, Casa Voyageurs station is on the outskirts of the city central and then a fairly long walk or petit taxi (circa 15DH) into the centre. Maps are available at the Train Chief's office. ONCF trains including airport line often delay, so better to plan your departure time at least 2.5~3 hours before the flight taking off, and also, please double confirm with the station stuff for the incoming train destination to avoid taking wrong direction.
On arrival at Casa Voyageurs you should expect to be besieged by touts and taxi drivers offering outrageous fares and refusing to use their meters. Even if they say they will use the meter, they will subsequently announce a 10 dirham surcharge per person or per bag applies.
For destinations in the central city you will be lucky to get the fare below 30 dirhams - two to three times its likely true value. If your luggage is not heavy, simply ignore them all and walk away from the station where you are far more likely to find an honest driver who will use his meter.
Alternatively, if you know the tram runs close to your accommodation, it is only 7 dirham to buy a rechargeable ticket at the stop immediately in front of the station.
If you arrive too late for the train, a taxi into the city should be 300~350 DH.
Note: there are 2 ATMs once you exit the arrivals area of the airport, past the customs and immigration area, but right before you go outdoors. You may have to walk to the left by 50 meters to find the ATMs.
Buses to the center leave regularly (~4 Dh).
There is also Casablanca Airport Car Service
The most convenient way to reach major Moroccan cities is by train. The downtown station Casa Port only has a couple of trains, while all others pass through Casa Voyageurs station, which serves trains to Meknes/Fes/Oujda, Marrakech or Tangier with stops in between. The trains are comfortable, the stations easy to navigate, and boards display the time of departure/arrival.
Be sure to check the schedule for express trains; for instance, the train that leaves Casablanca at 7:05AM daily takes 3 hours to reach Fes, as opposed to the normal 5 hour journey. Trains for Rabat leave half-hourly.
Trains are divided into first and second-class compartments; the first-class ones generally cost an extra 50%, but have more room and guarantee a seat. Boarding second-class compartments during peak hours may mean that you have to stand until a seat is free.
CTM coaches (intercity buses) and various private lines run services to most notable Moroccan towns as well as a number of European cities. These run from the Gare Routière on Rue Léon l'Africain in downtown Casablanca.
The main Gare Routière (Ouled Ziane) is in the outskirts of the city and serves the same (and more) destinations as CTM. This is definitely not the best place to be around at night (as most train/bus stations in the world), but none will try to bother you once you get inside the station.
The fares are slightly cheaper and busses tend to leave more frequently, however their quality might be lower and some do take longer for the trip (always ask if they take the highway (autoroute) if available on your route).
Most busses don't leave acording to a fixed schedule, but when all the places in the bus are sold out. If buying a ticket there, make sure you don't pay anyone untill you see the bus and you are sure there is a place for you to sit on.
A taxi from downtown/Casa Voyageurs should cost you no more than (12 Dh/8 Dh) or 25 Dh with a taxi meter (as of August 2013), although you may have a hard time getting this fare (especially from downtown).
Bus number ten used to go there, but seems to leave from another place now, as a tramway is under construction. There is a grand taxi rank about 200m south of Place des Nations Unies running there for 6 Dh per person.
Gare Routière is so far the only place in Casablanca where you can have your luggage stored for a small fee.
There is a well maintained toll that runs from Tangier to El Jadida, passing through Casablanca and Rabat.
The minimum driving age in Casablanca is 18. Always carry your driver's license and passport while driving. Avoid driving if possible, car rental prices are high as is the accident rate. If you are leaving Casablanca by car, make sure to fill up in the city.
Gas/petrol stations becomes scarce outside Casablanca.
The tram opened in December 2012. The tram works from 6 AM to 22:30 PM during the week. End-to-end journey times are put at 60/70 minutes. The 31-kilometre line links some of main neighbourhoods of the city, and includes 48 stop stations.
Two of the stations, Gare de Casa-Voyageurs, and Gare de l'Oasis are located in front of train stations.
A rechargeable ticket costs 7 Dh for the first time (like 1 DH more to get the Tram-card), and a one-way trip costs 6Dh, regardless of distance. Trams run frequently, with at least one train every ten minutes during daylight and early evening hours.
Many bus companies run through the city, the bus routes are the same for a given number, although the route remains completely unclear (Google maps has some bus stops for Casa though).
Going by bus is the cheapest way to get around (4 Dh) but some companies such as Hana Bus have vehicles in a disastrous state. It could be worth taking the chance given the cost-saving and experience of what many locals experience, but watch out for pickpockets.
All taxis red in color, drivers know how to get to every single place in every single guide book, even if you tell them just "the restaurant on Blvd. Hassan II." Don't be surprised if the taxi stops to pick someone else up. The minimum fare is 7.5 Dh.
The white taxis act much like buses, squeezing up to 6 passengers inside. They are a set route and a set price, of 4 or 5 Dh. if you are waiting for a taxi feel free to pull one over and tell him where you're going, and he'll take you if he happens to be heading that way. Always pay your 5Dh at the start of the trip!
The King Hassan II Mosque, Boulevard Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, Tours: Sat-Thu beginning at 9AM, 10AM, 11AM and 2PM (120 MAD per person or 60 MAD for students with ISIC). A relatively new mosque, it's the largest in Morocco and the third largest in the world--also consisting of the tallest minaret in the world.
It is one of the two main mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Beautiful interior complete with water features, a roof that opens to the sky, a huge hammam in the basement (not in use), and beautiful tile work. Worth a trip to the city.
Old Medina, North of of the Place des Nations Unies There is a small, traditional walled town in the north of Casablanca. If you are in town it's worth a visit, but it's nothing compared to the glories of Fes or Marrakech.
The Corniche is a neighborhood on the ocean, west of the Hassan II Mosque. Decades ago, it was a thriving resort area - hotels lining the ocean side of the Boulevard de la Corniche and nightclubs lining the other side. Most look like they've seen better days, but it's almost disorienting how much it resembles the New Jersey Shore.
Along the Boulevard de l'Ocean Atlantique are many newer, fancier hotels. The Corniche is also home to many western fast food chains. A new western-style movie theater can also be found here, but the best option is to walk up and down the street, resting at one of the many ocean-view cafes.
The Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman is built on a rock offshore, well past The Corniche, and is only accessible at low tide. The shrine itself is off-limits to non-Muslims, but visitors are permitted to explore the tiny, Medina-like neighborhood that has sprung up around it.
A better bet is to walk to it along the beach and catch a view of the beautiful white walls before catching a cab to less remote areas.
Mahkama du Pacha This is a Hispanic-Moorish building comprised of more than 60 ornate rooms with delicately carved wooden ceilings. There are many stuccoes and intricate wrought-iron railings as well as beautifully-tiled floors.
While entrance may be free it is not easy to get in. You need to find a guide to accompany you. Ask around - especially if you speak some French - as it is worth the entrance. Open hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-12:00 & 14:00-18:00. To get there take bus 81 on Boulevard de Paris.
Central Post Office Come here to send your postcards in style! Built in 1918, the facade of this building is composed of both round and rectangular shapes. Once you approach you will get a good view of the excellent mosaics.
Hammam (Turkish Baths)
Solidarite Feminine, 4, rue Ahmed Chowki, Palmier. Hammam for women only Beach
Aïn Diab Plage, Casa Tramway terminus. Free to enter. Go for great people-watching, join a pick-up soccer game, buy a paddleball set from a mobile vendor, or hire a horse or camel ride. Bring your own picnic or try the sandwiches, ice cream (2 Dh), friend pastries (5-10 Dh), popcorn (1 Dh), fresh orange juice, french fries, coffee, and tea sold at stands or by passing vendors. Umbrella and two chairs, 30 Dh, negotiable (tables available, too).
Swimming in Ain Diab or anywhere on Moroccan Atlantic Coast can be hazardous because of rip currents. Water is usually cold even in the summer months, but there are exceptional days when the water is warm and free of rip of currents.
Next to the beach in the Ain Diab area, there you have the "Morocco Mall" , which is the second largest shopping mall of Africa. All major chains, stores and (exclusive) brands are represented in the mall, as well as an IMAX theatre and many more different activities besides shopping.
Next to Megarama Cinema and front of kind Abdulaziz mosque, there you have "Anfa Place Mall ".it's roughly the same as the former.
Around the old Medina it's easy to find places selling traditional Moroccan goods, such as tagines, pottery, leather goods, hookahs, and a whole spectrum of geegaws. In Fes or Marrakesh the selection and competition are much greater, and you can probably bargain for a lower price.
The Maarif neighborhood (near the twin center) has many name-brand European and American fashion chains, such as Zara. Designer glasses, leather shoes, and "genuine" belts, bags, and shirts can be had at bargain prices.
The Derb Ghalef neighborhood has a huge souq that is not for the faint of heart. A cluster of small shanties, each one is loaded with "genuine" mobile phones, "genuine" watches, and "genuine" "brand name" clothing. The shops are separated by alleys no more than three feet wide, some of which double as drainage ditches.
There are numerous fruit smoothie stands in the center, which make a good spot for regrouping and planning your excursion. The stall owners are, of course, kings of negotiating, and without a good handle on Arabic and a strong backbone, you're likely to pay well over the going rate for anything.
Restaurants in Morocco don't open until around 7pm at the earliest, and most people don't eat until much later. Be sure to call first and make sure your restaurant of choice is actually open.
Cafes, Many cafes have breakfast specials where you can get a hot beverage, juice, plus pastry, toast, omelette, or egg and meat tagine for 12-20 Dh.
Street food, Stroll through the medina and the streets just outside the walls for stands selling fried eggplant, fish, or meat sandwiches (8-10 Dh); freshly squeezed fruit juices (8-15 Dh); freshly grilled sweet or savory breads; muffin cakes (1 Dh each) and drinkable yogurt (5 Dh per half liter); grilled corn; soupe Morrocaine (3-5 Dh) and more. Outside of the mealtime rush, there are plenty of small shops all around town selling rotisserie chicken, grilled meats, or grilled sausages (all with fries) for under 30 Dh a plate.
La Cigale, Blvd Brahim Roudani just south of the Rampwan de L'unite Africaine. This bar is an unassuming spot close to the Park of the Arab League, with a restaurant in front that serves only the most basic food (sausage or kefta sandwiches, salads, and the like.)
The bar in the back is more crowded and has live music most nights. Beer is served with a plate of olives or popcorn, and it's one of the few Moroccan-style bars where women can drink in peace. Wine and liquor are available, but only when eating in the restaurant.
A few phrases in Arabic to Aisha, the barkeeper, will win her heart and ensure a constant supply of olives.
Benis Patisserie, Quartier Habous. This place is famed for having some of the best pastries in Morocco. Try one of their famous hornes des gazelles. You should also try the bastilla (one of the most luxurious and prestigious dish in the Moroco's gastronomy, and Benny's is undoubtedly the best one. Choose the pigeon or farm chicken version. You must book it in advance (05 22 30 30 25).
La Corrida, 59 Rue el Araar. From the outside, it's easy to miss this restaurant, but look for the little sign ringed in blinking lights. It has a nice outdoor courtyard, but the inside is the main attraction. It's decorated like with memorabilia from Spanish bull fighting tournaments and has a dark, candle-lit vibe that's perfect for dates.
The sangria is tasty, as is the Tapas menu (which changes daily). Seafood is the specialty, and the steamed mussels should not be missed. This restaurant was boarded up and no longer appears to be open as of May 2014.
Taverne du Dauphin, 115 Blvd Felix Houphouet. A little seafood place within walking distance of the old medina, the port, and the Park of the Arabic League, this place can get crowded at meal times. An excellent selection of seafood and one of the widest beer selections in all of Morocco (though that's only 5 or 6 different brews) makes this a very popular lunch spot.
The fish is fresh from the fishermen at the port, and the shellfish (oysters, mussels and so on) are delicious. When paying, however, keep an eye on the waiters: they'll "help you count the money," which can turn into an elaborate shell game where they'll slip some of the cash into their own pocket.
Le Kobe D'Or, 9 Rue Abou Salt El Andaloussi (just off of Brahim Roudani). An asian restaurant that is hard to miss, as it has an enormous red neon sign. The inside is nicely decorated in dark red, with lots of mirrors and asian details.
The food is ho-hum; the soups are great but the chicken tends to be overcooked. Still, a nice place for a quick snack close to the Maarif, a good shopping area.
La Sqala, Blvd. Des Almohades. Built in the remains of an old fortress, this place is worth as much as a cultural attraction as it is a restaurant. On the outskirts of the old medina, it has cannons, walls, defensive positions, and portcullises as well as a nice, clean eating environment.
The atmosphere tends to be a little on the touristy side, but the food is a good modern look at traditional Moroccan foods. Some dishes are vegetarian and vegan. They also have the obligatory Moroccan pastries and teas if you're just in the mood for a snack.
Great photo opportunity.
Al Mounia, 95 Rue Prince Moulay Abdullah. This restaurant has an excellent courtyard with a hundred year-old tree. The main drawback is that since this restaurant is listed in most guidebooks, it fills up with tourists at an early hour. The cooking is mostly traditional Moroccan foods, with some of the best couscous in the country. There is also an extensive wine list.
La Cocina; 55, Rue Mustapha el Manfalouti, Gauthier, a 20m de Zerktouni,The real spanish taste in Casablanca.
Located in the center of Casablanca, this restaurant offers a variety of Spanish dishes, very good rice and paellas dishes and a great selection of authentic Spanish tapas and local and imports wines and beers. Open from noon until midnight without interruption, its nice decor and friendly service make it a must in Casablanca.
Rick's Cafe, 248 Rue Sour Jdid. This restaurant has recreated the eponymous cafe from the movie Casablanca, and has done so without being cheesy. Excellent location, within a 20 minute walk of the Hassan II Mosque and in the walls of the Old Medina bordering the ocean. The food is excellent.
Eat at one of the tables on the second floor for an excellent view of the seats below and the niveau-Moroccan decorations, or eat on the ground floor to be nearer the piano player who plays, of course, As Time Goes By among other classics. Excellent selection of wine and liquor and, for Morocco, beer (5 different brands).
The waitstaff, in tuxedos and Fezes, are superb. Cost of dinner for 2 up to 800 DH. Alternatively, eat elsewhere and come here for drinks at the ever-so-classy bar, and soak up the 1940's Casablanca atmosphere. Dress code enforced.
Ô Sushi, 27 Lotissement Assalama Sidi Maarouf. Sushi is catching on in a big way in Morocco. This little place, on a side street near the prefectural police headquarters, is one of the best. New, clean, and trendy, you're unlikely to find anyone in it before 10pm.
They serve all the sushi classics- Nigiri, Sashimi, Hosomaki, Maki, Futomakis, and assorted other fish items. Though tasty, it can get expensive if your aim is to fill yourself up. Not very many options for vegan diners.
Nightlife in Casablanca has mixed reviews. Women might feel a bit uncomfortable with the mostly male crowds in many bars and nightclubs. But if you dig a bit, you'll find some excellent spots to drink, dance and people watch. Certain clubs are flooded with prostitutes at night. It is not advised to bring a girl back to a hotel.
If you want a drink in your hotel room, supermarkets like Acima and Marjane carry a wide variety of liquor and wine, though the beer selection is fairly stunted.
The best places to drink are either European-style restaurants, which usually have a decent selection, or hotel bars, which are inevitably safer and more relaxed.
Many western-style nightclubs exist in the Maarif and Gironde neighborhoods. Pubs will cost around 100 dirhams per head, it will be half if visited in the happy hours from 7PMto 11PM. Pubs to visit Tiger House, La Notte.
Kasbar, 7 Rue Najib Mahfoud, Gauthier, on a street between Blvd Anfa and Blvd Souktani.A dark and atmospheric place to grab a drink or dinner. Any kind of attire will fly, but if you want to dress up, a night at Kasbar is your chance.
La Bodega, Rue Mohammed 5 (Near the old downtown and Medina). A Spanish tapas bar, quite original. There can be a wait to get into the basement bar; but once you get inside, you're rewarded with bartenders who eat fire. It's pretty expensive, though, and only frequented by tourists.
Atlas Airport Hotel, Close to the airport. There is normally a bus waiting outside the airport building. A modern hotel very close to the airport. This is the default accommodation for passengers with missed connections etc, so the price will most likely be covered by the airline.
Food is basic but adequate. Wireless internet is available in a few places in the building, but you have to search for the signal - try the ground floor near the gift shop.
There are some Budget options (150-300 Dirham for a double room) near the Tram Station "Station marché Central". You may take a Taxi from Casa Voyageur directly to this station for about 10 dirham metered fare.
YHI Hostel, Boulevard des Almohades,in the medina, on the right if you look at the Hotel Central. By far the cheapest options, with his 80 dirhams per dormitory. It's a YHI hostel it means it's cheap and not fancy but who cares. There is a gigantic common space. Around many cafes and restaurants. 80 Dh for the dormitory.
Hotel Terminus, Ave Bahmad, Place de la Gare, Casa-Voyageurs, 150 meters to West from the train station. Located directly across from the Casa Voyageurs train station, this hostel is not a cheap option for travelers watching their cash. The price is very high for what it is. 250 DH for a 2 bed room with a sink.
There are communal toilets on each floor and a shower behind the reception desk. Stay here only if you don't have another choice because all things in the hotel are very old and very dirty I could not sleep at all. ~180 Dh.
Hotel Central, 20 Place Ahmad el Bidaoui on the port side of the Medina. Ask your taxi driver for the Auberge de Jeunesse which is on the same square. Located in the Old Medina, this simple hotel is a good budget option. The owners are friendly and have been known to give complimentary cups of mint tea to weary travelers.
Breakfast of tea/coffee, a boiled egg, olives, fresh bread from the medina, jam and yoghurt is one of the best offered by a budget hotel in Morocco. Good restaurants adjacent to the hotel. Keep your wits about you at night as the Medina isn't the safest area. 150-350 MAD.
Ajiad Casablanca, Angle Rue Kamal Mohamed et Rue Fakir Med. This central hotel has 24 hour reception, free parking and air-conditioned rooms. 415 MAD.
Hotel Astrid, 12, rue du 6 novembre,Casa tramway to Nations Unies station, then walk 5-10 minutes. This hotel has clean, reasonably spacious rooms with private bathrooms, a nice lobby, and attentive desk staff. Some rooms have balconies. Internet access in the lobby.
Breakfast available. Easy walking distance to medina and tramway, with good nightime street life (no fancy bars, no excessive noise, but lively, with cheap places to eat), and seemingly safe (well-lit, many couples, and frequent solo women). 285 MAD. edit
Ibis moussafir Casablanca, Avenue Bahmad, Place de la Gare, Casa-Voyageurs,Next to Casa-Voyageurs train station.
checkin: 12:00pm; checkout: 11:00am. Right next to Casa-Voyageurs train station. Excellent garden in the back, perfect for playing with kids.
Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Place des Nations Unies,In the commercial district.
checkin: 12:00pm; checkout: 15:00pm. You can choose rooms with views of Hassan II Mosque. Has a pool and several good restaurants. Live entertainment in the evenings.
Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche, Rue Sidi Belyout. Considered a the best Luxury five star hotel in the Capital with over 141 rooms and 30 suites, with butler service and breathtaking views of the city and ocean, were designed by Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet.
This is ideal for business trips or exploring the city. Located near the Old Medina and Hassan II Mosque and across the street from new stylish & brand new Gare Casa Port. 1980 MAD.
Novotel Casablanca City Center, Angle Zaid Ouhmad, Rue Sidi Belyout. A four star hotel with over 200 rooms, this is a great spot for conferences and people looking for a bit of luxury.
Expansive buffet breakfast, although a touch pricey. Located near the Old Medina and Hassan II Mosque and across the street from Gare Port. 950 MAD.
Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers, 100 Avenue Des F A R. This modern hotel houses 6 bars and restaurants and the popular nightclub, Caesar's. There's also an outdoor pool and a fitness center. 1,800 MAD.
Hôtel les Saisons, 19, rue El Oraïbi Jilali (ex. rue de foucauld), ☎ 212 022 48 18 98 - 022 49 09 01/27/28/29. Luggage service, Concierge, Telephone, Internet, Fitness, Lounge bar, Cities Reestaurant Individual safe box, Mini bar, Room service, Laundry, Hair Dryer, Cable TV, Air conditioning € 65.
Le Royal Mansour Meridien, Avenue de l'Armée Royale, Casablanca 21000, Morocco. Live in luxury with in-room movies and a 24 hour butler service ,relax at the spa with hammam and sauna, and immerse yourself in Moroccan culture at La Douira or the delightful conservatory of Le Jardin d'Hiver £629.
Casablanca is served by all of the mobile companies that can be found elsewhere in Morocco. Wana, Meditel, and Maroc Telecom are the most common. Mobile phones can be bought in any of these store's stands, and most do not run on calling plans. Rather, recharge cards can be bought in corner stores that contain a number to call.
When that number is called, the company adds the price of the card to your account's balance. Alternatively, more than one SIM card can be bought and changed in and out of the phone, if users need more than one phone number.
SIM cards from Marco Telecom and Meditel are given out for free at the airport, and by promoters who you can find standing around in the city wearing company uniforms. The free SIM cards come with a little bit of calling/texting/internet credit.
However, these must be activated before you can use it, by calling 555 (automated system is in French only), or asking them to help you activate so you can call and use internet. You can add data to the plan for 10DH for 1GB of data. These can be purchased at stores, or ask for help from the telecom people.
Internet cafes : Internet access is available in cyber cafes around the city. Service is usually around 1€ per hour.
Wifi : You'll find wifi access in many hotels and in some places such as America Café or La Brioche Dorée, usually those labelled a bit "trendy"
Mobile Internet : Phone companies offer mobile internet services that plug into the USB port of your computer (currently, there are no mac-compatible devices.) These services can be had without signing a contract, and are recharged in the same manner as a telephone.
Almost all of the things to see in Casablanca are in the north of the city; very few maps even show the southern end of this sprawling metropolis. Common sense will alleviate 99% of problems; try to look as little like a tourist as possible, do not flash large quantities of cash, and so on.
Faux guides are much less of a problem here than in the rest of Morocco and are limited mainly to the area around the Old Medina. It is inadvisable to walk alone in Casablanca at night. Women, as in all Moroccan cities, should dress modestly to avoid harassment,which almost always consists of lewd comments, but nothing physical.
Casablanca is unlikely to provide North American or European travellers with any headaches. Despite being a major population center and seat of commerce, the majority of the town is less than 50 years old and could easily be mistaken for Los Angeles or Madrid.
Food is as European as it gets in Morocco, with pizzas and hamburgers as frequent as tajines and couscous. In some areas, such as the Maarif and Gironde neighborhoods, seeing a man in a djellaba or a donkey pulling a cart of vegetables are rarities. If even the trappings of Moroccan culture such as these are too much for you, any hotel bar or restaurant is going to be just like home for a few hours.
The majority of travellers leaving Morocco from Casablanca will leave from the Mohammed V airport accessible by train. Leaving Casablanca for other Moroccan cities is likely to be by rail: the main train station is Casa Voyageur as opposed to Casa Port, which is a special side stop not served by many trains.
Grand taxis are the best way to exit the city for smaller outlying villages. There are no boat or ferry services available in Casablanca. You may take Supratours or CTM coaches that travels through out Morocco.
While much of the region continues to face declining tourism, Morocco holds steady due to its commitment to constantly upgrade its facilities and offerings.
Casablanca is looking quite attractive to investors and visitors, including insurance giant Allianz, which recently opened offices there to serve the region.
Morocco Benefits from Sustainable Tourism Efforts. A recent report on sustainable tourism development by fDi Markets included a look at how Morocco's efforts are attracting interest, and investors.
It is understandable that tourism is so important to the country, as it is the third or fourth largest component of GDP. Tourism has benefited from several national plans, including Vision 2020 and Plan Azur, which focus on the overall state of the sector, as well as specific projects for seaside resort developments.
Now with its leadership at COP22, sustainable tourism is becoming even more prominent in Morocco's plans, as the UN has declared 2017 the "International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development." According to Taleb Rifai, the secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), this designation recognizes the critical role tourism plays in economic growth, social inclusion, cultural and environmental preservation, as well as in increasing "our understanding, tolerance, and empathy for our fellow man."
For Morocco, tourism has many benefits. It enables a higher percentage of women and youth to enter the job market; supports social entrepreneurship projects such as artisanal crafts and food preparation; and diversifies economic growth geographically across many attractions in the kingdom.
Although the majority of investors are from industrialized countries, the projects are primarily in the developing world. According to fDi Markets, nearly 80% of the $352.2bn invested since 2003 has gone into such markets, including emerging European countries. However, the study cautions that investments are not enough. Without political and social stability, tourist dollars avoid risky destinations, as with Lebanon and Tunisia.
In the period 2003-2016 covered by the report, which tracks the years of Morocco's heightened tourism promotion efforts, Morocco is second in the world after Macau in terms of investments in tourism facilities.
Few countries in the Middle East and Africa have experienced a high correlation between the amount of investments and tourism spending. Morocco is one of the best success stories, attributed to its assets such as natural beauty, regional stability, location as a hub to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and tourist-centric infrastructure.
Morocco Strikes Ahead to Diversity Tourism Markets. The kingdom is engaged in a multifaceted campaign to draw in new tourists as visitor numbers from Europe stagnate. "While political turmoil and militant attacks have battered the sector in Egypt and Tunisia, Morocco registered 10 million visitors last year, according to the Moroccan Tourism Observatory.
That was a barely perceptible rise of 1.5 percent from 2015, it said. But 2016 was better than the previous year and the outlook for 2017 is very positive."
In addition to Moroccans living abroad, who make a significant impact on the tourist numbers, and Europeans who are quite familiar with the country's attractions, Morocco has abolished visas for Chinese to encourage their visits.
The story notes that "Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and the country's second biggest employer, after agriculture.
The sector accounts for 10 percent of national income and, along with exports and remittances from Moroccans overseas, are among the country's main sources of foreign currency." While many factors seem to be obstacles to the goal of 20 million visitors a year by 2020, Morocco is committed to doing whatever it can to achieve continued growth in the sector.
Casablanca has published a profile of Casablanca that underscores the vitality and importance of Morocco's commercial center.
It points out that there are thousands of expats in this city of four million people, and that "Behind these realities is a city full of history with an architectural heritage, ancient and recent, a dynamic city, proud of its past and confident in its future."
Chief among its business attractions are the Casanear shore, which provides the infrastructure needed for off-shoring back office business services, the Technopark, which serves as the center for many international ITC companies, and the nearby OCP, the national phosphates company, the country's largest business and its largest employer.
And, of course, the Casablanca Finance City is rapidly expanding as the preferred platform for doing business in Africa.
A list of the many cultural attractions of the city, including the Hassan II Mosque, the seaside walkway or cornich, an attractive downtown area accessible by tram, red taxis (with meters), and Uber, as well as quality hotels, restaurants, and wonderful shopping areas.
Allianz Takes Its Turn. The international insurance giant, Allianz, has launched Allianz Maroc, which has set a goal of becoming the country's market leader by 2021. It joins global firms RSA and Aon that had earlier opened regional offices based in Casablanca.
The company intends to replicate its successful model of providing offerings to multiple market segments rather than be limited initially to a few products.
The press release noted that "Allianz Maroc will focus on digital channels to communicate with customers in real time and quickly handle claims.
It will also develop synergies with other Allianz entities, including Euler Hermes, to better serve business customers interested in expanding or exporting to other African markets.
The company is also launching a communication campaign to boost its brand reputation." Allianz said Morocco is an important growth market in its strategy in Africa, as the country has positioned itself as a hub for the continent. It is a natural fit for Casablanca Finance City's role as the financial services center for Africa.