New tourism project to be developed

05 March 2004
The government has signed a deal, worth up to MD 4,700 million ($542 million), with Societe Amenagement Essaouira-Mogador (SAEM)- a consortium led by Belgium's Thomas & Pironand L'Atelierde Jean-Pierre Reynders- for a new tourism resort in the coastal town of Mogador in Essaouira province. The eight-year agreement covers one of six tourist zones across the kingdom put up for development by the government, and is one of the biggest ever for a tourism project in the kingdom.

The project involves the construction of up to 18 hotels, with 8,700 beds, and two golf courses covering an area of almost 400 hectares between the old Jewish quarter of the town - a UNESCO world heritage site - and the sea. The resort's architectural designs will be in keeping with Mogador's historical legacy and no building will be permitted to be taller than two floors.

Under the terms of the deal, SAEM - which also comprises Belgium's Colbert Orco and Risma, a local subsidiary of France's Accor Group- will take responsibility for buying the land, developing the resort infrastructure and selling it to potential investors. SAEM plans to launch by the end of April an international tender for the consultancy contract to carry out the project's technical studies.

Rabat will sell the land for development at a discounted rate and will be responsible for developing external infrastructure to serve the resort. It will also secure the necessary landing rights at the local airport in order to facilitate access for international airlines.

The project represents a significant investment in the region; an estimated 8,000 jobs will be created directly and up to 40,000 indirectly.

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