Moroccan tourism is looking optimistically towards the future, thanks to a newly established strategic roadmap for 2026. Developed in close collaboration between the government and tourism industry professionals, this roadmap aims to achieve a yearly growth of 10%, with a target of 17.5 million tourist arrivals by 2026. After the significant downturn in tourism revenue due to the Covid 19 pandemic, 2022 has been identified as a year of recovery, with the outstanding performance of the Moroccan national football team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar helping to boost tourism. The roadmap aims to position Morocco as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and it’s now time to carefully consider the future of Moroccan tourism.
6.1 billion dirhams to attract 17.5 million tourists by 2026
In Rabat, on March 17th, 2023, the Moroccan Prime Minister and several ministers signed a framework partnership agreement aimed at deploying the tourism sector’s strategic roadmap for 2023-2026.
The objective: To reinforce tourism’s position as a crucial sector of the national economy.
With a budget of 6.1 billion dirhams over four years, this roadmap aims to achieve the following objectives:
- 17 .5 million tourists by 2026
- 120 billion dirhams in foreign exchange earnings by 2026
- 200,000 new direct and indirect jobs by 2026
The Ministry of Economy and Finance has secured a budget of 6.1 billion dirhams for the implementation of this roadmap. According to the Minister of Tourism, this budget is in addition to the one allocated for investment subsidies and contributions from local authorities under the 2023 Finance Law, which amounts to nearly 700 million dirhams. In addition, the success of the roadmap will require additional funding, which will be added to the department’s budget as decided by the 2023 Finance Bill.
Placing customer experience at the heart of the new strategic thinking: Turkey, Greece, and Portugal taken as examples
The Minister of Tourism emphasizes that Morocco needs to transition from a pure destination strategy to a cross-cutting and diversified tourism industry approach, similar to countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Portugal, with a focus on customer experience. The goal is to find ways to attract and retain visitors, by using tourism engineering to offer a different experience from what tourists already know.
9 thematic sectors have been identified
- Ocean Waves
- Nature, Trekking and Hiking
- City Break
- Beach & Sun
- Desert & Oasis
- Business Tourism
- Cultural Tours
- Domestic Tourism – Seaside
- Domestic Tourism – Nature & Discovery
5 transversal sectors to enhance intangible heritage
- Gastronomy and local products
- Festivals and moussems
- Sustainable development
- Crafts and local know-how
- Alternative accommodation
6 levers of competitiveness
- A proactive and ambitious plan for air transport, aiming to double the network’s capacity
- A strengthened marketing and promotion plan, with a focus on digital channels and partnerships with travel influencers and foreign tour operators
- Encouragement of private sector investments in entertainment and tourist services
- Upgrading the hotel infrastructure and creating new accommodation capacities
- Enhancement of human capital, ensuring service quality at international standards
- Improved sector management by strengthening the role of the National Tourism Observatory
A new governance implemented for the success of the roadmap
The revamp of the governance of the tourism industry is a crucial innovation in this roadmap, viewed as a pivotal factor in its success. This reform will enable the tourism strategy to be firmly established at the highest level of the Executive by establishing a national inter-ministerial tourism commission (CNIT) headed by the Prime Minister. To bolster the CNIT, two national commissions will be established for the aviation and tourism product sectors, alongside 12 regional commissions. Additionally, the roadmap outlines the establishment of 10 public-private “boost” labs for advancing the development of tourism sectors.
Agadir leads the way as a driving force in achieving the goal of the roadmap
Agadir remains the most attractive destination in the kingdom, offering a year-round tourism offering without seasonal interruptions. It is appreciated by all generations for its pleasant quality of life, and there is a clear determination from professionals, the local population, and the territorial governance to maintain the course and support a constant dynamic of improvement and innovation to always offer more and better.
Investments in tourism are multiplying, and efforts are being made to recover, restore, and maintain the infrastructure that made this destination so successful. Agadir continues to be a destination where investing in tourism is worthwhile. There is a great ambition to fully leverage the levers of the new roadmap to increase the contribution of the tourism industry to the regional GDP.
The Mohammed VI Fund for Investment is supporting struggling hotels with a priority given to Agadir and Marrakech
The Mohammed VI Investment Fund will play a key role in the implementation of the new 2023 2026 tourism roadmap by providing financial support to hotel structures in Agadir and Marrakech through equity investments, benefiting more than 62,000 rooms across the country. This is excellent news for the revitalization of the tourism sector, with Agadir and Marrakech being the national pillars upon which the roadmap’s objectives are based.
The first regional pilot project is planned at the Agadir destination level
The principle consists of setting up a Collective Real Estate Investment Fund (OPCI) to take over the properties of hotels that are closed or in difficulty, as well as establishing a hotel management and operating company.
The Souss Massa Regional Council has allocated 10 million dirhams for accommodation units in rural areas
The Souss Massa Regional Council has initiated a scheme to assist tourist accommodations in rural areas of the region, with a budget of 10 million dirhams. The grant offered will fund half of the investment costs, with a maximum limit of 400,000 DH per establishment. 13 properties were chosen in the first round of the call for proposals, and over 6 million DH has been allocated to them. The Souss Massa Region is currently home to 305 rural tourist accommodations, with a combined capacity of 2700 beds and over 1368 camping spaces.
Anchor Point: 670 additional beds in Taghazout
The Souss Massa region’s new tourism strategy includes the development of the Anchor Point tourist area, which has received a budget of 56 million dirhams to prepare for and attract investors. This pilot project, managed by the Souss Massa Tourism Development Agency, covers 32 hectares, and offers 13 plots that have been selected through a call for expressions of interest to identify the best investment proposals for this iconic site, renowned for being one of the world’s most popular surf spots. The project will add 670 beds to the Taghazout area.
100 million dirhams to support the creation and development of tourism SMEs in the Souss Massa region
The SMART Tourism program, as part of the territorial initiatives to support tourism investment, aims to provide grants or investment incentives to support the creation of new tourism businesses and the transformation of existing ones. This program is dedicated to providing technical and financial support for tourism SMEs in the Souss Massa region and has a budget of 100 million dirhams, with equal investment from SMIT and the Souss Massa Regional Council. The program provides different types of support, such as grants that range from 10% to 50% of the investment amount. The first call for proposals, which was received in the first quarter of 2023, received 1,190 applications, of which 294 were approved. Analysis of the project proposals shows that out of the 294 approved applications, 217 are related to new business creation (74%), while 77 involve the transformation of existing tourism SME activities (26%).