Spring, O'Brien captures Morocco tourism account

NEW YORK: The Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO) has awarded a three-year, $1.3 million contract to Spring, O'Brien, marking the first time in more than 20 years that the organization has hired a US firm.

NEW YORK: The Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO) has awarded a three-year, $1.3 million contract to Spring, O'Brien, marking the first time in more than 20 years that the organization has hired a US firm.

The forthcoming campaign is intended to capitalize on the rise in American visitors.

Plans are still in the works, but Spring, O'Brien will be targeting a variety of media "to bring the whole story of Morocco to the American media," including Moroccan food and lifestyle, according to Chris Spring, president.

The majority of tourists to Morocco have been European, which is where much of their marketing dollars have historically been channeled.

However, the number of Americans traveling to the country has risen dramatically. There was a 20% increase in the number of American tourists to Morocco in the first six months of this year compared with 2005.

"I think there's a lot of buzz about Morocco," said Spring.

In addition to the chatter about Morocco as a tourist destination, the attitude of the American traveler has changed.

"American travelers are getting more resilient," said Spring. "They're going to more exotic locations."

In response to this new interest, the government and other outside interests will invest $10 billion in new hotels and resorts over the next three to five years.

These trends prompted the long-term nature of the contract.

"They wanted to make a commitment to one agency to build the program as they move forward in making this huge investment," said Spring.

The MNTO will continue their European marketing efforts, and will also direct their attention to Canada, whose French-speaking population in Quebec is attracted to the country.

The agency will also counsel the MNTO on crisis management for all eventualities.

"You look at the world we live in, every destination market must have a crisis plan," said Spring.

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