Nador, A Financial Powerhouse

Morocco is known for its exotic mysteriousness, rich and vibrant colors, spicy foods and bustling cities. Most destinations in Morocco have endless amounts of tourist attractions, noteworthy historical sites and exciting activities. Unfortunately, it seems that Morocco has forgotten about the small city of Nador. Nador is located in the region of Morocco that is better known for sheep herding than tourism. The Spanish city of Melilla is a mere ten kilometers from Nador, and yet they are a world apart.

The city and surrounding area is home to approximately 180 thousand residents, of which the majority are Tarifit-Berbers. Nador’s moderate climate does count in its favor. The stunning sunsets and sunrises over the lagoon are a breathtaking sight and a wonderful photographic opportunity. The economy of the city relies on a small scale fishing industry, livestock and agriculture. Most of its fruit travels to Melilla by rail and many traders come to the city for its products. For the biggest part of its existence, Nador has been an industrial city, with a university, cement factories and tall office complexes.

Visitors will find Nador to be a bustling city, but it does not posses the tourist attractions and activities that would make the city a popular tourist destination. There are many clean and well-kept hotels in the city and fresh fish is a specialty of the restaurants in Nador. Banks are located throughout the city and are able to assist visitors with money exchanges. Buses and taxis are the most appropriate form of travel in the city and to the outskirts.

Even though Nador is second in line to Casablanca when it comes to financial stability, the city is completely focused on business and industry and therefore has little to offer tourists. It is hoped that if more tourists visit the city, authorities might consider upgrading the city to accommodate foreign visitors. There are however a few problems that will need to be addressed before such changes can take place. Due to Melilla being in such close proximity to Nador, many tax-free items are smuggled over the Moroccan border. It is also a huge trading post for drug smugglers who ship their lethal products to Europe from Nador. Diesel and gasoline are also smuggled over from Algeria, and sold at a much cheaper rate just outside the city.

With all the trade, both legal and illegal, it is easy to see how this small city has managed to grow into a financial powerhouse. Pressure from European countries has brought the spotlight on Nador, and the Moroccan government, stationed in Rabat, has started to implement stronger regulations in regard to trade in the city. Maybe, if funds are distributed to projects that can raise awareness of Nador’s existence and create tourist attractions in the city, the tourism industry might one day become a stable source of income to Nador.