Developers converge on tourism projects

08 September 2003
Spanish real estate company Fadesaon 27 August signed the long-awaited contract to develop an ambitious tourism project on the far east of the kingdom's Mediterranean coastline. The project is one of the six sites proposed for development as integrated resorts as part of the Plan Azur - the core of the country's tourism initiative (Tourism, MEED Special Report, 20:12:02).

Fadesa will act as the project developer and promoter for the Mediterrania Saidia-Maroc resort, which is expected to require total investment of Eur 1,500 million ($1,622 million). The resort will have three 18-hole golf courses and eight hotels. There will also be 22 plots for the development of holiday villas and apartments, some 3,000 of which will be available for sale or rent. Separate plots have been set aside for commercial use, with services expected to include a water park and cinema as well as site offices and a medical clinic.

Fadesa plans to develop the project in two phases, with lay-out and land preparation undertaken during the initial phase. The second phase will see the actual construction of the resort. The government is to provide the necessary infrastructure to link Mediterrania Saidia-Maroc not only with the rest of the country, but also with Europe. The resort is anticipated to create 8,000 jobs directly and 40,000 indirectly.

On the day of the signing ceremony, King Mohammed VI launched the construction works on another nearby tourism project, known as the Ghandouri zone. The $20 million project, further west along the Mediterranean coast, involves the development of hotels, holiday villages and a number of guest houses and villas. The project is being managed by Maroc Hotels & Villages, a subsidiary of state finance company Caisse de Depots & de Gestion. Ghandouri zone is due to be completed by mid-2005 and is expected to generate over 21,000 direct and indirect jobs.

An improvement in the tourism sector has been identified as a priority, following the unveiling of the '2010 Vision' in January 2001. An ambitious target was set to double the number of hotel rooms and boost visitor arrivals four-fold to 10 million by 2010.

In one of the latest developments, UAE tourism group Al-Ghantoutsigned a deal in late August to develop three hotels in the southern city of Marrakech. The agreement, involving total investment of $22 million, was signed in Rabat at a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Driss Jettou.

The first of Al-Ghantout's hotels will be a small luxury hotel with 30 suites costing $8 million, while a second 30-room hotel will be built at a cost of $4 million. The third property will be a 100-room, five-star hotel requiring investment of $10 million.

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