The Swiss-Moroccan sustainable tourism programme aims to support the provinces of Azilal and Beni Mellal in developing sustainable tourism with integrated sectors in order to reduce poverty, create income and new jobs and improve existing jobs, particularly for young people and women.
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 However, in the selected rural provinces, the sector faces serious challenges: the outdated infrastructure and accommodation of tourists, the lack of qualified professionals and a low supply of high-quality tourist services/products. 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 aims to develop sustainable tourism in the Beni Mellal and Azilal region. All stakeholders, both public and private, as well as civil society, work together in a regional coordination platform. The programme supports 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 creation of a regional coordination platform ensured effective coordination and representation towards public and private actors. The destination is evaluated by analysing the flows of visitors to determine their needs. 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 design menus based on local products, will enhance the management of the 'gîtes' and the reception of visitors to the region. In addition, a training centre for mountain professions will be developed with new training programmes in the sports and leisure sector.