For years now, Morocco has quickly become aware of the importance of the tourist fabric, whether economically or for the promotion of Moroccan heritage and culture abroad. But the advent of the pandemic has upset all the cards. The tourism sector has been hit hard, not only in Morocco, but all over the world.
Once the health crisis passed, Morocco reacted quickly by putting in place a national strategy and a roadmap to frame the sector and bring it to new levels never reached before. The success of the Atlas Lions at the World Cup in Qatar gave a boost to the sector and made Morocco known worldwide.
In mid-March this year, the head of government Aziz Akhannouch presided over the signing ceremony of the framework agreement for the deployment of the strategic roadmap for tourism 2023-2026, with a budget of 6.1 billion dirhams (MMDH).
This roadmap aims, by 2026, to attract 17.5 million tourists, to reach 120 billion in foreign exchange earnings, to create 80,000 direct and 120,000 indirect jobs, in addition to repositioning tourism as key sector of the national economy.
This ceremony was marked in particular by the presence of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah, the Director General of the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT), Adel El Fakir, and the Chairman of the Board of the Company Moroccan Tourism Engineering (SMIT), Imad Barrakad.
In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU – Memorandum of Understanding) relating to the revival of the Société d’Aménagement de la Station Essaouira Mogador (SAEMOG) was signed in February of the same year, as part of the development of investments tourism at the seaside resort of Mogador-Essaouira, said the Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts and Social and Solidarity Economy.
Signed, in particular, by the Minister of Tourism, Fatim-Zahra Ammor, the Minister Delegate in charge of Investment, Convergence and the Evaluation of Public Policies, Mohcine Jazouli, the Director-General of SMIT, Imad Barrakad, the director-general of the Moroccan Agency for the Development of Investments and Exports (AMDIE), Ali Seddiki, the director-general of SAEMOG, Mehdi Attayallah, and the leader of the consortium comprising 4 foreign investors, Samih Sawiris, this MoU covers an investment program of more than 4 billion Dirhams (MMDH), the ministry said in a press release.
This project provides for the renovation and extension of the existing hotel, the transformation of the current club house into a boutique hotel and the construction of a new club house, the development of a Club Med and 3 hotels on the seafront, the creation of a commercial and leisure area in the village of Mogador and its extension, as well as the development of real estate projects.
During this week, the Head of Government, Aziz Akhannouch, dissected the various advances in the tourism sector as well as the measures which enabled it to escape the scenario of collapse in a difficult and tense world economic situation, and this , during the plenary session dedicated to the responses of the Chief Executive to the questions relating to the general policy around the tourism strategy, held on Tuesday at the House of Councilors
According to Akhannouch, the number of tourists arriving in Morocco had decreased by 79% in 2020 and by 71% in 2021 compared to 2019, which was a reference year. This represented a huge loss estimated at 90 billion dirhams in terms of the country’s hard currency income.
In order to deal with it, Akhannouch indicated that the government has worked urgently and responsively with the professionals involved in the sector to implement an emergency plan by mobilizing an amount of 2 billion dirhams (MMDH) , to support the economic recovery.
He also recalled the key measures adopted within the framework of this plan, in particular the extension of the payment of the fixed indemnity, the deferral of the charges due to the CNSS for 6 months, the establishment of a moratorium relating to bank maturities, exemption from business tax due by hoteliers in 2020 and 2021, and finally the granting of the State subsidy to the hotel sector for a total amount of 1 billion dirhams, from which 737 establishments benefited.
In addition, “the government has mobilized all the material, human, logistical and organizational capacities for the success of the ‘Marhaba’ operation, according to a participatory approach and a global mobilization of the various stakeholders, which reflects the wise royal vision and instructions from His Majesty to improve the services provided to Moroccans residing abroad (MRE) and to continuously improve its reception conditions”, he underlined.
Thus, the government is fully mobilized to diversify the tourist offer and adapt it to the new demands of tourists, particularly in terms of cultural, rural, mountain and ecological tourism, which will enable our country to attract a diversified segment of visitors throughout the year.
The remarkable participation of the National Football Team in the World Cup in Qatar has largely contributed to the influence of the Kingdom at the international level and formed a noticeable communication campaign for the benefit of the country, he underlined.
He also called on the various tourism stakeholders to strengthen their involvement in this dynamic that the sector is experiencing, after having initiated the implementation of the 2023-2026 strategic roadmap. “This roadmap highlights Morocco’s potential as a reference tourist destination, given the expansion of the national tourist offer, the intensification of competition at regional and international levels”, he said. he concluded.