Morocco has an estimated population of over 32 million and has an area of 710,850 km2. In line with the world’s population growth, rising in 2011 to around 7 billion people, more than 50% of whom live in urban areas, this population growth and urbanization trend is also clearly visible in Morocco. There, the urbanization rate was below 10% in the early 20th Century, reached 29% in 1960 (according to the first Census carried out in post-independent Morocco), and then grew to 55.1% in 2004. In the mid-1990s, there were more people living in urban than in rural areas. By 2030, the High Planning Commission expects that 28.4 million inhabitants will live in cities, that is, 68.5% of the total Moroccan population.
The political capital of Morocco is Rabat, although Casablanca is the largest city which can be considered as the ‘cosmopolitan, industrial and economic heart’ of the country. Fez is Morocco’s oldest imperial city and is now on the list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. It is perceived as the ‘symbolic heart’ of Morocco. Marrakech, the exotic medieval-style city with a reputation for high cultural authenticity (also known as the ‘Red City’), is the most important Morocco’s imperial city, and attracts the highest number of tourists. In 2011, there were about 2.05 ml. recorded tourists, which ranked Marrakech 68th in the world’s most visited cities (Euromonitor). Morocco is officially divided into 12 regions, which in turn, are subdivided into 62 provinces and 13 prefectures.
- Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima
- Béni Mellal-Khénifra
- Guelmim-Oued Noun
- Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra
- Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab
Each of these regions has geographical and historical features which make it interesting. However, it is good to mention that the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism has defined new tourist regions which will be used in this site to describe the regional characteristics.