Tourism in Tangiers, Morocco increasingly integral to regional development

 

The municipality of Tangiers has optimised its business and leisure tourism offerings to match increasing international demand, benefitting from its proximity to Morocco’s major source markets in Europe, its breadth of cultural and historical tourism products and the rising presence of large multinationals.

GROWING PLANS: In 2013 a regional development plan (contrat programme régional, CPR) was launched as part of Vision 2020, Morocco’s national tourism strategy (see Tourism chapter). Initially covering the Tangiers-Tétouan region, the territorial division of 2015 saw the CPR expand to include Al Hoceima. Encompassing investment volumes of Dh14.4bn (€1.3bn) across a total of 127 projects, the CPR aims to welcome 3.1m tourists by 2020. The CPR identified tourism as a longterm priority sector and is focused on consolidating the business tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segments and, in line with Plan Azur 2020, upgrading coastal tourism. “Investments from the Gulf countries boost regional tourism, which turned out to be a real locomotive of development,” said Omar Moro, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Tangiers-Tétouan-Al Hoceima (CCISTTA). “The share of the tourism sector now reaches more than 50% of the total investments in the region of Tangiers.” Following the inclusion of Al Hoceima in the region in 2015, local policymakers were moved to recognise natural and cultural tourism as an integral and sustainable engine of provincial growth.

INTERNATIONALITY: With an estimated accommodation capacity of more than 11,000 beds, Tangiers is considered as the centre of tourism in the northern region. Foreign arrivals still crystallise around Marrakech and Agadir, but growth in the Tangiers municipality is strong. With a 26% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in overnight stays as of October 2017, Tangiers was only second to Fez, which saw a 39% rise in overnight stays. Local media reported that 510,675 tourists arrived to the city of Tangiers throughout the first 10 months of 2017, which represents growth of 29% y-o-y. Of these, 52%, or 265,560 tourists, came from abroad, which indicates that the region’s traditional domestic source markets are changing to become more internationalised. According to figures from CCISTTA, from January to September 2017 Spain was Tangiers’ top source market with 5128 arrivals, followed by France, the MENA region, the US and Germany. Despite the y-o-y increase in overnight stays, a 46% occupancy rate during this time period demonstrates the seasonal character of Tangiers’ tourism sector. “Overall, the leisure market has great potential in Tangiers and the past three years have seen vast increases in tourist arrivals,” Alain Rillof, general manager director at the Mövenpick Hotel & Casino Malabata, told OBG. “Between May and September, the local tourism market is usually booming, though the sector largely remains seasonal.”

BUSINESS TOURISM & MICE: Due to the large presence of multinationals, a burgeoning automotive sector and its attendant logistical advantages, the business tourism and MICE segments look set to be anchors of the city’s tourist ambitions. Visitors tend to stay for an average of two nights and both the presence of the Tangiers Free Zone and Tangiers Automotive City ecosystems are said to have led to spillover effects for local business tourism. Numerous international hotel chains present in Tangiers, such as Mövenpick, Golden Tulip, Hilton and Mogador Hotels & Resorts are outfitted with conference centres and business lounges. At a city level, the authorities are anticipating growth in the MICE and business tourism segments by developing facilities to cater to these visitors. The Tanger City Centre has recently opened, bringing to the market the city’s first shopping mall, a cinema, two four- and five-start hotels, a Hilton residence and a 10,000-sq-metre business centre. Also newly launched after 10 years of planning is the 1500-seat conference and exhibition centre at Tanja Marina Bay International, adding another significant venue to the city’s roster.

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The Report: Morocco 2018

Tangiers chapter from The Report: Morocco 2018

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