Hotel Yearbook2009


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Morocco and Tunisia : big plans afoot. PHILIPPE DOIZELET, Head of HORWATH HTL’s Paris practice, makes a solid case for considering these
two North African countries the next hot Mediterranean markets, especially for developments mixing hotels
and privately owned residences.

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Hotel Yearbook2009

  1. 1. In Arabic, the word « Maghreb » – now connoting the countries Despite the two countries being comparable in terms of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania – means « the geographic environment, tourist product and cultural land where the sun sets. » Very different from each other, these background, Tunisia and Morocco are at different stages of five countries mark the western boundary of Islamic religion and their respective tourism development ; Morocco is developing culture. The economic importance of the Maghreb countries at a fast pace, whereas Tunisia is re-shaping its tourist model. within Africa remains unquestioned : they account for nearly one third of the continent’s output, and their share increases yearly. Morocco : picture of growth Investment began to accelerate in Morocco in the 1980s, With a total area of almost 4.2 million km2, Algeria and when, by means of loans and tax exemptions, the government Libya are the second- and fourth- largest countries in Africa, committed significant resources to the development of the respectively. Each of them has recently initiated integration tourist industry and related services. In the early 1990s, the into the global marketplace, with the energy sector (fossil fuel) country hosted up to 1.5 million tourists per annum, mainly driving their economies. from France and Spain. In 2001 the king of Morocco signed a strategic plan called « Vision 2010, » setting the goal of Mauritania, with GDP per capita of only $952 in 2007 (only attracting 10 million tourists by 2010. The plan calls for adding one twelfth that of Libya and one fourth that of Algeria), is the 160,000 beds, bringing the national capacity to 230,000. It least-advanced country in the Maghreb, due to an absence of also forecasts the creation of some 600,000 new jobs. natural resources, although relatively small oil reserves were discovered recently. As the most politically unstable country The national plan for tourism development « Vision 2010 » of the Maghreb, it has seen more than ten governments divides into two sub-plans, the « Azur » and « Mada’in » plans. overthrown (or attempted coups d’état) since the country gained It is an ambitious partnership between private operators and its independence, the last one in August 2008. Most of the the Moroccan government engaged in creating favorable population is employed in the agricultural and mining sectors. investment conditions. On top of product diversification, large- scale training programs, improving the quality of services and Tourism on the rise in Morocco and Tunisia better distribution, the Azur Plan envisages the creation of 6 Viewed in this context, the economies of Morocco and Tunisia new coastal resorts : are more diversified and incorporate a wider array of services, including tourism. In 2007, the two countries together recorded Saïdia Mediterranea - 30,000 beds some 14 million tourist arrivals, resulting in nearly 53 million Port Lixus - 12,000 beds overnight stays. Numbers like these confirm their position as Mazagan - 7,600 beds mainstream destinations in the Mediterranean region. In order Mogador - 10,500 beds to accompany the tremendous growth in the tourism sector, Taghazout - 21,000 beds Horwath HTL has recently opened new office locations in the Plage Blanche - 26,000 beds capital cities of Rabat and Tunis.
  2. 2. In parallel, the Mada’in plan addresses the re-development of Soaring tourist arrivals and growing interest in Morocco as a existing destinations : Fes, Rabat, Marrakech among others. second home destination is driving demand in up-scale projects The key success factors of the « Vision 2010 » plan include : of resorts and residential developments. Among the properties that are scheduled to open between now and 2011 : Limited land cost Development of infrastructure Four Seasons – a hotel and resort complex, consisting of No custom tax on equipment hotel and villas, some of which are to be sold to private Quality real estate developers owners and then fully serviced by Four Seasons Open sky policy. Banyan Tree – a € 35m luxury resort hotel in the Palmeraie area Mandarin Oriental – 45 private villas designated as Together, these factors create the market conditions that « Residences at Mandarin Oriental » should encourage short stays and real estate sales. Marrakech Serail – the « Lucien Barrière Hotel, » including 85 suites and a Fouquet’s restaurant Thanks to the policy of government incentives and quality SBM (Monaco) – a luxury hotel project large-scale operations, Morocco has succeeded in diversifying Raffles Resort – 150 rooms and 36 villas, opening in 2009 and upgrading its supply. Currently, this modern tourist Park Hyatt Marrakech – designed as a part of Al Maaden destination offers a wide choice of activities, from traditional residential and leisure development sunbathing through cultural circuits to desert tourism, Starwood – intends to introduce its design brand « W » in trekking, golf and wellness. Marrakech in 2010 InterContinental Marrakech Resort & Spa – a new-built resort Through its investment vehicle Risma, Accor is the leading development, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2011. operator in Morocco with 32 hotels. However, the presence of other international hotel groups is increasingly diversified. On a short-term basis, the recent crisis has a strong impact on the financing of new projects and may limit the additions of new The strategy for Morocco has been acclaimed by key rooms, at least for a certain period. But taking a longer-term investment groups from the gulf such as Emaar, Al Qudra, KHI, perspective, the future of Moroccan hotel investment is attractive Sama Dubai as well as leading international operators including and will continue to draw investors from Europe and Middle East. Accor, Marriott, Starwood, and Hilton to name just a few. Tunisia : gaining ground Marrakech, due to its status of most-visited city, is considered Similar to Morocco, tourism in Tunisia plays an important role, to be one of the preferred places for investment mainly due contributing 7 percent of GDP and 17 percent of export value. to a higher Average Daily Rate than in the rest of the country. The country has already recovered from the Djerba attack of 2009 will see massive additions of hotel supply in Marrakech 2002 and keeps increasing tourism income even more rapidly which will be combined with real estate programs. than the number of arrivals and overnight stays.
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  4. 4. In parallel, liberalization in air transportation allowed it to reach The Tunis Sports City, which will be built by the Bukhatir a sustained growth of seat capacities. Group on 245 ha ; The South Lake area, Mediterranean Gate, developed by Today, Tunisia is already one of the top beach destinations Sama Dubai on 830 ha. in the Mediterranean. In terms of accommodation, about 80 percent of the lodging facilities are conventional seaside hotels, The other key area in greater Tunis is Gammath, where several which are almost exclusively marketed through tour operator marina projects combined with hotel and real estate are channels. This market profile was successful for attracting mass projected as an answer to the scarcity of moorings for yachts tourism, but can hardly compete with destinations developed in the Mediterranean. more recently such as Turkey or Egypt. For decades, Morocco and Tunisia have developed financial The Tunis hotel market has been stable for quite a long time. incentives to the benefit of their own residents. The initial However, significant changes there have occurred over the past objective was to develop international tourism without two or three years. The Tunisian rejection by locals. However, government is now aware that the this idyllic scenario has been Tunisian traditional hotel model is tempered by an unbalanced mix challenged. In addition, upscale of product. The 100 percent hotel hotel villas are only now beginning model was suitable to a low- to to emerge in Tunisia, for example, middle-range clientele of French The Residence. and German operators. In 2009 and beyond, a well-balanced Launched in 2004, a National mix of hotel and real estate, as Plan of Modernization of the well as a lesser share of tour Hotel Industry, calling for the operator business, is required to modernization of 45 hotel units create additional value for future at a total investment of US$ 1.25 developments. billion, is not sufficient to radically alter the country’s positioning. It is Both countries represent true therefore critical that Tunisia further investment opportunities and diversify its tourism industry, basing soon will become an indispensible on its potential to develop activities development destination for like spas, golf and MICE. international groups wishing to conquer new markets in the In the foreseeable future, the Mediterranean region. Tunisia hotel additions in Tunis will be is actually one head behind concentrated around the three Morocco but is likely to repeat its mega-projects under development successful path. There is no doubt all around the Tunis Lake : that 2009 may be a crucial year in this perspective. The North Lake area, 200 ha, already 80 percent completed ;