The tourism industry “surely” continues its metamorphosis – Morocco Today

The tourism industry “surely” continues its metamorphosis – Morocco Today
The tourism industry “surely” continues its metamorphosis – Morocco Today

Record arrivals, an increasingly diverse offering and a promising vision…

Roadmap 2023-2026: At the end of May 2024, no less than 5.9 million tourists visited Morocco, an increase of 15% compared to the same period of the previous year. A performance which is in line with the objectives set by the authorities and which anticipate arrivals of around 15.5 million tourists by the end of the year.

The Moroccan destination is fast approaching the objectives set for the year 2024 as part of the 2023-2026 vision. During the first five months of the year, no less than 5.9 million tourists visited Morocco, an increase of 15% compared to the same period of the previous year. A performance which is in line with the objectives set by the authorities and which anticipate arrivals of around 15.5 million tourists by the end of the year. This forecast seems to be achievable, taking into account the dynamics observed in recent years and which places the sector’s achievements in historic levels. These trends reflect the relevance of the sheet signed a year ago by the authority and which aims to build a world-class Moroccan tourism industry. The objective is to attract no less than 26 million tourists to the Morocco destination by 2030. In a first progress report on this vision, Fatim-Zahra Ammor, Minister of Tourism, Crafts and social and solidarity economy, returned in an interview with MAP on the main investments planned to achieve this objective. In this regard, the minister listed the three pillars of the roadmap.

Let us first mention the overhaul of the tourist offer. The latter will focus on an approach centered on the experience and not on the destination. It will thus be structured around nine thematic sectors including Ocean Waves, Beach & Sun, Desert & Oasis Adventure, Trekking & Hiking. Added to this are five transversal sectors which integrate the rich Moroccan intangible heritage into the tourist experience. As for the second pillar, it concerns the implementation of levers essential to the achievement of the roadmap, in this case air connectivity through strategic partnerships with international airlines. “This will complement the efforts of national companies, in particular the program contract signed between Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and the State which will allow it to quadruple its fleet of 50 aircraft currently to 200 aircraft by 2037,” we can say. report to the minister who also cites investment in increasing hotel capacity as an essential aspect in anticipation of major sporting events to come. The animation aspect is not left out. The authority plans to inject 720 million dirhams into the “Go Siyaha” program to support 1,700 tourism businesses by 2026 and thus create an innovative national entertainment offering. Particular attention is also paid to strengthening human capital through the implementation of a training program with the Office for Vocational Training and Labor Promotion (OFPPT) and the National Tourism Confederation (CNT), which aims to improve the quality of services and adapt training to the needs of the labor market. A new program for validating acquired experience will also be launched. The aim is to offer workers in the sector a “valuable” opportunity to promote their skills acquired in the field. As for the third pillar of the tourism roadmap, it concerns new governance through the establishment for the first time of a national commission chaired by the head of government.

Towards an eco-responsible tourism value chain

Sustainable tourism is also at the heart of the 2023-2026 vision. “For us, in the tourism sector, sustainability is a priority, because our tourism industry is fundamentally based on the wealth of our natural and cultural resources, and we must preserve them,” said the minister. He added: “Today, the growing trend towards ecotourism reflects an increased awareness of environmental issues and the responsibility to protect our resources. Tourists, like local residents, now aspire to tourism that respects the environment and local communities.” It should be noted that the sector’s roadmap is in harmony with the National Sustainable Development Strategy. To this end, a cross-functional sector was established entirely dedicated to sustainable development.
The aim is to encourage eco-responsible practices at all levels of the tourism value chain. Likewise, a system to support green growth has been put in place as part of the national “Go Siyaha” program, allowing tourism businesses the opportunity to opt for an energy transition. “We support up to 40% of investments in tourist accommodation establishments and restaurants classified for the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies, such as intelligent energy and water management systems,” assures the minister. As for the tourist offer, three sectors are focused on ecotourism, namely “Nature, Trekking & Hiking”, “Desert & Oasis Adventure” and “Cultural Tours”. Rural tourism is also one of the niches in which the authority invests, thus involving Moroccan villages in the tourist experience and allowing local communities to benefit economically from tourism. Referring to supervision, the new regulations will allow the development of alternative ecotourism accommodation, whether eco-lodges, cabins or even homestay accommodation. This orientation will offer tourists the opportunity to connect more deeply with Morocco’s rich natural and cultural diversity in different regions.

Intangible heritage at the heart of priorities

Furthermore, the 2023-2026 roadmap gives a prominent place to Morocco’s intangible heritage. “With 60% of tourists showing an interest in Moroccan culture, particularly crafts, their integration into the tourist offer was essential,” assures the minister. Two cross-functional sectors have been dedicated to crafts and local products. These are “Local Crafts and Know-How”, and “Gastronomy and Local Products”. The idea being to systematically integrate them into all the tourist experiences of the different regions. Something that will stimulate regional economies, promote local culture, diversify the offer and strengthen the identity of destinations.
Likewise, several concrete initiatives are planned, including the establishment of a solidarity market in Agadir, in accordance with the contract implementing the road map for the Souss-Massa region. This market will allow artisans and cooperatives to sell directly to tourists. For its part, the Institute of the Mediterranean World in Tangier will offer spaces dedicated to crafts and local products. In Dakhla, marketing activities for local products are planned in hotels to expand business opportunities for artisans in the region. There is also talk of installing exhibition spaces in tourist hotspots. The authority also works to promote the old medinas with a view to immersing tourists in the Moroccan artisan world, thus encouraging their engagement and purchases. Note that other actions will gradually be implemented in the different regions in order to develop authentic cultural experiences centered on crafts and local products on a regional scale.

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