To promote the territory, operators are calling for the development of packaged tourist packages with tours in the hinterland and the old medina. Digital communication campaigns are also on the agenda.
The crisis of the Covid-19 has impacted the totality of the tourist units in the Fez-Meknes Region. Indeed, the operators estimate a loss of 75% of turnover in 2020, which goes from a forecast of 1 MMDH to 274.7 MMDH. In 2021, the estimated turnover is -49%. The crisis has also caused the halt of more than 50 projects for an investment of 335 MDH and threatens 9,200 direct jobs and 27,600 indirect jobs in the prefecture of Fez. In the prefecture of Meknes, the crisis has affected 3,000 direct jobs and 6,000 indirect jobs.
“At the end of September, the region recorded a very timid occupancy rate that varies between 8% and 11%, which remains far from the expectations of operators in the region, whose situation is very complex,” explains Aziz Lebbar, president of the Regional Tourism Center (CRT) of Fez.
In addition to the total shutdown of the activity, the operators assumed the high cost of the disinfection kits, estimated at 400,000 DH. During the workshops organized by the Regional Economic Intelligence Committee (CVER), the operators of the region outlined the paths for reviving the sector. To promote the territory, operators are calling for the development of packaged tourism packages, with circuits in the hinterland and the old medina, to replace the short circuits that do not sufficiently highlight the tourism potential of the region.
In this context, the professionals ask the State to make available to the private sector the summer centers of the region, especially those located in Imouzzer Kander and Ifrane, to reduce competition with hotels. There is also talk of relaunching projects to develop the region’s litter capacity, the main handicap of tourism promotion. It is a question of repositioning the city of Fez on the segment of business tourism, with the development of projects for conference centers and convention halls.
Indeed, operators want to accelerate the implementation of structuring projects in the tourism sector and are asking the government to dedicate a lump sum grant for the maintenance, upkeep and repair of establishments located in the medinas of the region. “It is necessary to launch digital communication campaigns to promote regional culinary products, especially for high-potential markets, and to develop a gastronomic concept around traditional cuisine and the history of the cities of the region,” said the CRI officials after the work of the sectoral commissions. Among the recommendations, the establishment of a direct transport line between Fez-Saiss airport and the city center and the revision of the methods of calculation of the rate of drinking which is 10% higher than the rates applied by other major tourist cities (3%).
Among the main priorities of professionals in the region is the targeting of Moroccan tourists. “Our goal is to better market the destination and to increase the share of domestic tourism to rise from 6% currently to 30% by 2022,” said Aziz Lebbar. It should be noted that an action plan has been put in place with the Moroccan National Office of Tourism (ONMT), as part of the national strategy for tourism recovery. The promotional campaign of the Fez-Meknes Region will be based, among other things, on posters (billboards located in the hot spots of the cities of Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier), the most widely read press materials and the most listened to radio stations. Sponsorship actions for the CRT’s Facebook and Instagram pages will also be set up. In addition, the CRT is working on a vast digital transformation of tourist accommodation establishments in the Fez-Meknes Region. The aim is to give visibility to all hotel establishments (riads and tourist guest houses, hotels, bed and breakfasts) and to enable them to receive reservations directly, without the use of intermediaries.