Officials at the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development have revealed ambitious plans to make both Rabat and Casablanca global destinations, appealing to travellers from around the world.
The bold plans will see the government spend MAD18 billion ($2 billion) in the development of tourism in the destinations.
The aim is for Rabat and Casablanca, the political and commercial capitals of Morocco respectively, to join Marrakech on the world stage.
In a report issued at its Supervisory Board meeting in Rabat, the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development disclosed investment in tourism industry in 2014 amounted to some $2 billion.
This is “despite economic crisis,” explained Moroccan minister of tourism, His Excellency Dr. Lahcen Haddad.
The report argues that financial support for the tourism sector has increased investment to MAD63 billion since the inception of the 2020 Vision Plan in November 2010.
The agency realised revenue of MAD365 million in 2014, in addition to MAD79 million in operating income, and achieved 57 per cent percent of targets for 2020.
Imad Barrakad, chief executive of the agency, said this year had seen the enrichment of Morocco’s cultural offerings by the development of new tourist destinations such as Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier.
This was thanks to the Moroccan tourism fund, and the associated sovereign funds from the Gulf countries.
The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development intends to put Rabat and Casablanca among the world’s most prestigious destinations.
It is hope the resorts will become world leaders for recreation and culture through the creation of museums, theatres, libraries, interpretation centres, marinas, restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, and upscale hotels.
The Moroccan government and Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development also signed an agreement in September with a budget of MAD2.4 billion for develop rural tourism.
This in turn is expected to create more than 25,000 job opportunities.
The agency already declared its interest in creating partnerships with regional investment centres for the implementation of development projects such as the convention centre in Marrakech, the exhibition centre in Tangier, and the constellation thematic resorts in Fez and Meknes featuring the history of Morocco.
World Travel Awards
Moroccan tourism has all been celebrating an illustrious partnership with World Travel Awards in recent weeks.
Following the signing of an official three-year hosting deal with the Office National Marocain du Tourisme earlier in the year, World Travel Awards recently unveiled the host cities for its 2015, 2016, and 2017 Grand Finals.
As one would expect, international powerhouse Marrakech will be first to host the event, in late 2015, before the spiritual heart of Morocco, Fez, picks up the mantel in 2016.
Dovetailing with the plans unveiled by the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development, Casablanca will follow as host of the World Travel Awards Grand Final in 2017.
Tourism operators in all three cities are expected to enjoy a boost in their global exposure given the attention World Travel Awards commands.
The announcement of the host cities was made by World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke, Moroccan minister of tourism, His Excellency Dr. Lahcen Haddad, and Mohammed Arkobi, chairman of Innovate Marketing Solutions, following a fact finding mission to the country.
Moroccan minister of tourism, His Excellency Dr. Lahcen Haddad, centre, is joined by World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke and Mohammed Arkobi, chairman of Innovate Marketing Solutions, at the announcement of the host cities
World Travel Awards president Graham Cooke said: “Preparations for the World Travel Awards Grand Final 2015 are now taking shape, with Marrakech in place to host the prestigious event.
“This is an exciting time to be part of Moroccan tourism and we look forward to working with our partners in the country in the coming months to make the event a unique showcase for the country.
He added: “We have also revealed Fez will be honoured with hosting rights for the 2016 Grand Final, while we will be headed to Casablanca the following year for the 2017 Grand Final.
“With Moroccan tourism presently benefiting from a secure political environment, visionary political leadership and high-levels of private investment, World Travel Awards is looking forward to showcasing the best of Morocco over this three year period.”
The Grand Final 2015 will take place in the beautiful city of Marrakech.
The city is a pearl polished by history, with a tradition of hospitality which, for centuries, has known how to welcome visitors.
Luxury shops, tearooms and cafés adorn the streets of the ‘red city’ as it effortlessly reconciles its prestigious past with contemporary dynamism.
A worthy host of the World Travel Awards Grand Final, Marrakech is a city full of life and enthusiasm.
The imperial city of Fez will welcome World Travel Awards for the Grand Final 2016.
The city is considered the capital of traditional Moroccan culture; a cradle of knowledge, for which its superb medersas are a flamboyant symbol.
Its UNESCO listed medinas are famous around the globe, forming part of the best-preserved old city in the Arab world.
Peppered with mosques, madrassas and palaces, its trades and crafts have barely changed for centuries, while its heritage nourishes a community of poets, musicians and intellectuals.
Casablanca is the commercial heart of north Africa
Not to be outdone, Casablanca is the hotbed of Moroccan commerce.
A thriving port community, it is the largest city in the Maghreb and one of the largest cities in Africa, both economically and demographically.
Dynamic, yet relaxed, everything happens in Casablanca and its vibrancy is infectious.
Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Dr. Lahcen Haddad, offered his support to the event.
He explained: “Over the last decade, Morocco has become a major North African tourist destination, it aims to be among the top 20 destinations worldwide by the year 2020.
“To host the next three editions of the World Travel Awards Grand Final in Marrakech, Fez and Casablanca, is a great opportunity for the Kingdom to promote these historical destinations, and further enhance their visibility in a global scale.
“Morocco has considerable assets, which will guarantee the World Travel Awards participants the chance to live a unique and unprecedented experience; the event will undoubtedly reward hospitality industry actors who have chosen excellence and quality; I hope many of them will apply and win.”