Morocco Mall in Casablanca
Promoted as the biggest shopping mall in Africa, the Morocco Mall on the outskirts of Casablanca was recently inaugurated by international pop star Jennifer Lopez amidst great excitement. Thousands of visitors flocked to the mall in the weeks following the opening, with live performers providing entertainment at different locations throughout the mall.
With a range of cafés, fast food outlets and fine-dining restaurants, all tastes are catered for, while retail stores include everything from specialized products to every-day necessities. In addition to seemingly endless shopping options, visitors to the Morocco Mall have some exciting choices when it comes to entertainment. The theme park Adventureland offers various adventure activities, with an ice rink, hundreds of high-tech video and simulation games and playgrounds for children of all ages. Aquadream is a two-story high circular aquarium that allows visitors a 360 degree view of the depths of the ocean. With more than thirty species of marine creatures, darting in and out of the coral reefs and rocks that make up their natural habitat, Aquadream is a fascinating feature of the mall which is both entertaining and educational. The mall’s IMAX theater has a screen measuring 16 meters high by 20 meters wide. By means of 3D technology, audiences will feel that they are part of the movie as they explore the depths of the ocean and the mysteries of space.
In a country where shopping at local souks is one of the biggest tourist attractions, many are questioning the viability of this luxurious western-style mall which boasts a host of designer-name stores, including Gucci, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Prada and Louis Vuitton. With a shuttle service running between Casablanca’s top hotels and the mall it is clear that wealthy foreign tourists are the primary target market for this new venture. Although it has been reported that Morocco Mall’s developers are hoping to attract visitors from the rest of Africa who stop off at Casablanca’s international airport en route to Europe, statistics reveal that less than five percent of Morocco’s tourists are from Africa, with more than twenty percent of the country’s visitors coming from Europe. With Europe going through a financial crisis that shows no indication of being resolved any time soon, and the majority of local Moroccans not having the financial resources to shop at the mall, it remains to be seen if Africa’s largest shopping mall will be the success story the developers are hoping for.