Wellness is one of the strong segments that could consitute an excellent product appeal. In this context, what is its position within the Moroccan Agency for Tourism developement’s strategy?
To continue making tourism a driving force of economic, social and cultural development, Morocco has developed an ambitious National Tourism Strategy known as 2020 Vision.
The aim of this strategy is to double the size of the sector in terms of job creation, bed capacities and revenues. To “be among the top 20 destinations worldwide and reach the level of a world-class destination”, Morocco is developing a much more diverse tourism experience, both in terms of the number of destinations as in the diversity of the offer within each of them. In this context of product diversification, the Kingdom is setting up a countrywide development of niche tourism segments such as Wellness and SPA tourism…
Wellness and SPA tourism in Morocco is a very promising opportunity; the Kingdom is a well-being destination par excellence, historically known for its quality treatments with unique natural products such as Argan oil, flower waters and black soap in a great combination of ancient and modern. The country also offers hot springs and thalassotherapy treatments for diversified experiences.
In order to accompany this dynamic and to better structure the Wellness industry, the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) is building a road map in order to sustainably develop this industry and position the country as an essential destination for wellness and SPA within the region.
Increasingly, wellness and spa tourism is a real market with a high added value that would not be difficult to develop further in Morocco, a country having a bunch of competitive advantages:
• Premium location, few hours away from Major European cities, Middle East and Africa,
• competitive cost structure for services,
• Investor-friendly business environment with world class infrastructure and
• Wide range of other exciting tourism options to explore
Last year, the Moroccan Agency for Tourism developement co-organised the world congress on spa and wellness. What are the repercussions on Morocco as a tourism destination?
The 8th edition of Global Spa & Wellness Summit has featured prominent senior executives and leaders from more than 40 nations, all joined by a common interest to drive economic development and understanding of the spa and wellness industry. Delegates from diverse sectors, including hospitality, tourism, health and wellness, beauty, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing and technology… All these event’s attendees spent on average, seven days in Morocco, discovering our culture, tourism accommodation, wellness practices, beauty of landscapes, medinas… Even a post-summit tour was programmed and took those interested to enjoy our famous Moroccan hot springs (Moulay Yacoub, Sidi Harazem, Ain allah, Abaynou…) or experience our authentic hammams nestled in fez Medina. All these programs shine a light on the country’s tourism richness and wellness tourism products specifically. We are sure that what Morocco has to offer were communicated around the globe through the media coverage of the summit and the delegate sharing their experiences. Even if its impacts are indirect, this event conveyed a positive image of Morocco worldwide and enhanced product attractiveness for investors. In fact, during the GSWS, many investors showed their interest to invest in Morocco, and we have accompanied many of them during incoming visits all over Morocco to share investment opportunities.
Do you think that the Morocco wellness tourism has become mature? According to you what should be done to develop more this niche so that Morocco can be a genuine wellness destination?
Morocco will increasingly be a global leader in wellness tourism. It ranked #10 for projected growth among all nations from 2012-2017, with a very impressive growth rate of roughly 15%. Within the next few years, Morocco is poised to grow dramatically larger than its level of $800 million USD in wellness tourism expenditures registered by the end of 2013. Data speaks louder than words, so we can easily say that the Moroccan spa and wellness industry is doing well.
In fact, Morocco has one of the greatest opportunities for spa and wellness tourism, Morocco has always been known for its rich heritage of ‘Wellness’ traditions and has enormous possibilities to offer to ‘Wellness’ seekers. Morocco has the potential to become an attractive ‘Wellness’ destination for the global travelers. However, we still have some weaknesses, we do not enough promote experiential” wellness and indigenous practices as part of our cultural and tourism offer. We have the natural resources and we are building a sustainable good strategy to develop wellness tourism but we do not promote our wellness product as part of our identity. Thus, each time we have the chance to orient investors we do it in a way to preserve and maintain the Moroccan authenticity.
How your strategy is handling this segment for the long run?
Considering the existing offer and the various resources, Morocco should concentrate its efforts to develop the spa and wellness niche around four flagship products: Hot Springs, Thalassotherapy, SPA (with the Hammam as an appealing product) and finally Sand therapy. Our aim is to continue developing key turn wellness projects designed in accordance with the national tourism strategy and better fitting investors’ expectations. Our long term strategy can be summed up as follows:
Concerning the Product Development:
• Improvement of the basic characteristics of existing products
• Expansion of the existing range of products and services
• Development of Wellness pilot projects implementation for the flour flagship products for wellness in Morocco