Tourism as a lever for sustainable development of territories

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Tourism as a lever for sustainable development of territories

French-Moroccan meetings in Arcachon

Through French-Moroccan meetings, the Moroccan embassy in France, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism and the city hall of Arcachon, have co-organized on April 16th 2016 in Arcachon, a conference about tourism as a lever for sustainable development in territories. An opportunity to involve Moroccan participants (elected officials, institutional bodies and Moroccan  tourism professionals- Guelmim, Dakhla, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Oualidia, Nador, Chaouen, Moulay Bousselham, Agadir) in the discussion about the role of tourism in the emergence of territories and its importance as a catalyst for sustainable tourism.

The main topics of this meeting involve “the role of tourism in the emergence of territory”, “the importance of tourism animation, environmental challenges, and the input of sustainable tourism in the economic growth of territories” and “the changing tourism industry, specifically the impact of digital technology in redefining tourism”.

This meeting was also the occasion for elected officials, institutional bodies and tourism professionals from Morocco and Arcachon to share their experience in terms of tourism management and development, and to discuss the best practices for reconciling the development of the tourism industry for sustainable territory.

These issues present great similarities between the Gironde and Morocco, particularly in terms of seaside tourism development on the Atlantic coast with issues involving sustainability in planning, urbanization, environment and commitment.

It is also about winning the challenge of the touristic value of the UNESCO world heritage sites with regard to urban tourism and provide opportunities for tourism development in the backcountry, less widespread and more experiential for visitors. The goal is to win the challenge of tourism development that would maximize the positive effects of tourism to the benefit of local people, by wealth generation, job creation, development of infrastructure and induced activities.

Topics of discussion during the meeting are in phase with the strategic choices of Morocco (advanced regionalization, sustainable development), especially the ones concerning the tourism sector.

Tourism’s Vision 2020 is the ultimate spatial planning by tourism, with the goal to  maximize the impact to make it a lever of economic and social development throughout the entire territory.

The aim is to make these tourist areas internationally competitive with a proper positioning, promoting the natural, and cultural –tangible and intangible- heritage.

The challenges to consolidate the role of tourism as a lever for sustainable tourism are in terms of mobilization and governance of all the stakeholders with regard to funding and conciliating the development imperatives and the preservation/Valorization of the heritage, as well as the strengthening of competitiveness of the tourism value chain and its adjustment to the major changes occurring in the sector (the impact of digital technology, emergence of new jobs..)

The Moroccan delegation is composed of elected officials and professionals from emerging tourist destinations:

  • Dakhla, Guelmim and Ouarzazate in the south: with their exceptional dunes, cultural heritage, oases, ksours and Kasbahs.
  • Nador in the oriental region: which is developing a large project around the Marchica Med Bay (a model project for sustainable development.)
  • Moulay Bousselham : For its bird reserves…
  • Oualidia: Particularly oyster cultivation.
  • Chefchaouen in the north: where rural tourism represents a real lever of social and economic development.
  • Marrakesh and Agadir: Mature touristic destinations specialized in the issues concerning the diversification of the product, development of the back country, valorization of exceptional natural sites as well as the adjustment to emerging trends and changes in the sector.