People, Travel

Morocco Expanding Tourism

Morocco Expanding TourismMorocco Expanding Tourism

The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) aims at making Rabat, Morocco’s capital, and Casablanca “global destinations”, and aims to spend about 1.8 billion dollars to develop rural tourism notwithstanding the economic crisis.

SMIT intends to put Rabat and Casablanca among the world’s most prestigious destinations as resorts for recreation and culture through the creation of museums, theaters, libraries, interpretation centers, marinas, restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, and upscale hotels, according to Morocco World News.

The Moroccan government and SMIT also signed an agreement in September, last year, with a budget of 240 million dollars to develop rural tourism expecting to create more than 25,000 job opportunities.

This major financial plan on tourism was designed and approved prior to the political incidents in the region, starting in 2011, and targeting the development of tourism industry.

In a report, issued at its Supervisory Board meeting in Rabat at the end of 2014, the Moroccan agency disclosed that investment in Morocco’s tourism industry in 2014 amounted to 2 billion dollars.

“Despite a challenging international economic environment, the sector attracted 2 billion dollars in investments in 2014, to bring the overall investments in the sector since the launch of the 2020 Vision to 7 billion dollars,” said Lahcen Haddad, the minister of tourism, chairing the SMIT meeting.

The report states that financial support for the tourism sector has increased investment to 6 billion dollars since the inception of the 2020 vision plan on November 30, 2010. 

The agency earned 37 million dollars in 2014, in addition to 8 million dollars in operating income, and achieved 57% percent of targets for 2020.

Haddad hailed the efforts made by SMIT to diversify funding sources, adding that its turnover totaled 37 million dollars and its operating results reached in 2014.

He also stressed the importance to “review and update SMIT missions”, adding that 2015 “should be devoted to land regularization.”

Imad Barrakad, the CEO of SMIT said that 2014 marked the enrichment of Morocco’s culture by developing new tourist destinations such as Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier thanks to the Moroccan tourism fund in association with sovereign funds from the Persian Gulf Arab countries.