Tourism has been an important economic sector for Morocco for many years. However, in the selected rural provinces, the sector faces serious challenges: the outdated infrastructure and accommodation of tourists, the lack of qualified professionals, a low supply of high-quality tourist services/products, the need to reinforce the tourism destination management and to strengthen the sustainability in tourism. However, the region has considerable potential and invaluable natural resources (landscape, natural and cultural heritage) that must be exploited to make it an integrated sustainable tourist destination. The "Sustainable Tourism Switzerland-Morocco" programme actively addresses the challenges in order to maximise the benefits for this region while minimising the negative social and environmental impacts.
The programme supports the strengthening of sustainable management of the destination by public, private and civil society actors. Including the development of tourist attractions and the regional production of products and handicrafts, the modernisation of accommodation and the training of qualified personnel in the tourism sector. The measures help to promote investment in tourism, especially SMEs and women's cooperatives, while at the same time creating an environmentally friendly tourist destination.
The analysis of the destination (through the visitor flow approach to determine their needs), the establishment and implementation of a tourism action plan and the creation of a regional coordination platform will ensure effective coordination and representation towards public and private actors. Furthermore, tourism development takes into account all positive and negative impacts and introduces international sustainability standards (GSTC).
The project aims to improve the refurbishment and modernisation of hotel accommodation in the region for tourists. Capacity building initiatives, especially for women's cooperatives, aim to strengthen their entrepreneurial and management skills, train them in technical professions, support them in the development of new products and help them to market them throughout the tourism value chain.
The implementation of the "Hospitality Coaching" training programme, which helps the selected hosts to enhance the management of the 'gîtes' and the reception of visitors to the region. In addition, new training programmes in the sports and leisure sector will be developed.