Morocco Recognized as Prime Tourism Destination
Morocco has a well-earned reputation as a top tourist destination offering a rich cultural and historic heritage, diversity in nature, a range of adventure travel options and warm hospitality. Recognizing the potential to develop tourism opportunities in Morocco, a host of major international hotel chains have plans to expand their operations in this exotic North African country. The fact that the tourism industry has government backing makes Morocco an even more attractive investment choice for hotel groups.
Based in France, Accor is considered to be Europe’s leading hotel group, operating in more than ninety countries. Plans for expansion include building twenty hotels over the next five years, focusing on Morocco’s key cities – Marrakech, Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat and Agadir. With hotel brands catering for budget travel and economy class, as well as midscale, upscale and luxury brands, the majority of the planned Accor hotels will cater for the economy segment, making accommodation affordable for more travelers. Accor’s upscale Pullman brand and a luxury class Sofitel hotel will also be opening in Marrakech within the next three years. In a recent interview, Christian Rousseau of Accor Morocco revealed that the group has a long-term strategy in Morocco in collaboration with Casablanca-based publicly-listed company RISMA. These longer term plans include the development of a network of fifty Ibis and Ibis Budget hotels by the year 2020.
The well-known Hyatt Hotels Corporation already operates a Hyatt Regency in the city of Casablanca, and has plans to establish a Park Hyatt in Marrakech. The group is also exploring opportunities for developing its Hyatt Place and Hyatt Regency brands, either by building new hotels, or converting and renovating existing establishments. Hilton Worldwide is among the other hotel chains that have expressed interest in expanding their presence in Morocco.
King Mohammed VI’s launch of his Vision 2020 plan, which aims to increase annual visitor numbers to eighteen million by the year 2020, is thought to be a motivating factor behind the increased interest by major hotel groups. Add to this the fact that Morocco is becoming a destination of choice for many visitors from nearby Europe, and it becomes clear that Morocco has much to offer both investors and holidaymakers.