Morocco and Switzerland launches program to promote sustainable tourism

Published on : Friday, January 29, 2021

Morocco and Switzerland have officially launched the Moroccan-Swiss program with the aim to develop the conditions of sustainable tourism in the region of Beni Mellal-Khenifra. Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Handicraft, Air Transport and Social Economy, Nadia Fettah Allaoui held the meeting with the Swiss ambassador, Guillaume Scheurer, to further discuss the Moroccan-Swiss agreement that was signed last June 8.

The Moroccan-Swiss program is part of a bilateral agreement between the government of Morocco and the Swiss Confederation to promote social and economic development. The five-year program seeks to develop the sustainable tourism value chain in order to help strengthen the economy, create jobs, especially for young people and women, and reduce poverty.

A “sustainable tourism value chain” means developing the network of tourism organizations in both public and private sectors, including accommodation, transport, and excursion and the marketing of touristic products such as food production, handicrafts, restaurants, and infrastructure connected to touristic activities. The concept hopes to ensure that everyone involved in tourism, from small vendors and food stalls to large companies, all profit from the process in a sustainable manner.

The program budget amounts to 38.5 million dirhams. The budget is 90% financed by the Swiss Sate Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) with a 10% contribution from the Ministry of Tourism and the Moroccan Society of Tourism Engineering (SMIT). The program will involve the work of national strategic partners and public, private and regional associative actors invested in the tourism sector.

In the meeting, Swiss Ambassador Scheurer said that both parties chose to focus on the Beni Mellal-Khenifra region for its rich natural assets and the availability of “very well trained tourism agents,” that can have a real impact in promoting sustainable tourism. The program is based on three pillars. Firstly it aims to develop conditions conducive to the development of sustainable tourism. Secondly, it will strengthen competitiveness and market access to certain sectors included in the tourism value chain, followed by the development of tourism skills.

The Beni Mellal-Khenifra region is undergoing major regional development in multiple sectors, including the economy, social aspects, and the vital local tourism sector. The United States and Morocco also launched an 18 million dollar program that aims to promote regional development in the province of the Beni Mellal-Kenifra. Together with the Wilaya and the Regional Council of the region, the US Agency for International Development launched the program with the objectives of creating economic opportunities for women, young people, people with special needs, and rural populations.

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