Or taking a look behind the scene of one of the most successful tourism promotion strategy implemented in Africa. One that could serve as a reference case in tourism marketing.
With its Vision 2020 – which is not just a realistic horizon but also a very tangible one as not a futuristic milestone – the National Tourism Authority of Morocco embraced its objective of continuation to make tourism one of the engines of the economic, social and cultural development of the Country.
Working hard to offset some of the negative images suffered by the country at the hands of terrorism and ultra-conservative approaches, Morocco’s tourism strategy was founded on having identified its differentiating points and defined its core values. Those would include:
- Authenticity! While most of its direct competitors are engaged mostly in low yield mass tourism, the Moroccan approach that has centered its development and positioned its mark on authenticity can now be considered as a real competitive advantage. The Vision 2020 cultivates this historic choice through preservation, conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of the nation.
- Diversity! Having realized the diversity of its assets in terms of territories, landscapes, historical heritage, natural resources, cultures, the Vision 2020 promotes it strongly through an ambitious spatial planning that avoids concentration of tourism development and spreads it across the country.
- Quality! Where many competing destinations fight on price, Morocco development of new capacity fully incorporates the will to deliver an excellent quality and a service culture!
- Sustainability! Considering its well preserved historical and cultural resources, Morocco has always put development sustainability at the heart of its ambitions as a real potential for differentiation in a highly competitive and prospective environment.
Through its “Travel by Experience” approach, Morocco was one of the first countries in Africa not only to become aware but also to fully embrace the latest trend of experiential dimension of travel best described by the concepts of “let me try”, “show me how to do it”, “inspire me”. On the ground it translates by offering more than simple transfers, meals and beds; it also brought an opportunity for developing more value adding – and let us put the stress on added value – activities all over the nation while getting more of its population involved.
Best tangible proof of this reality has been the hosting by Morocco in its city of Marrakech of one of the trend setting tourism fairs called “Pure Life Experiences” which has positioned itself as the global market place for the high-end experiential travel industry, hosting world specialists in the field while showcasing its own destination.
Through its “Travel by Location” concept, Morocco focused very much at decentralizing tourism while taking its variety of assets into consideration such as ancient cities, modern metropolises, gorgeous coastal resorts, remote towns on the edge of the desert, villages in the middle of the Atlas.
The overall promotion campaign known as “The Country that Travels within You”, did very much build an image of an exotic country on Europe’s doorstep with a huge variety of locations, a warm hospitality and a multitude of experiences for the discerning traveler.
The success of the Vision 2020 plan – although not yet completed – is also related to the challenge of identifying and attracting high potential new clientele segments. It implies gaining the interest of new populations of high potential, in terms of length of stay and touristic expenditure, which had not been interested in Morocco.
These would include the seniors who represent spending levels and length of stays above average in addition to sometimes investing in second residences. As well as the High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI) attracted by a combination of luxury, service excellence and great experiences. And – last but not least as they are tomorrow’s clients – the segment of young people looking for niche and sport activities who already represent a substantial level of touristic expenditure.
Morocco ambitions to double the size of the tourism sector and they are well on the way to achieving this goal.
On a closing note, any country is search of a tourism identity and development policy could learn from the Moroccan strategy implemented over the past 20 years!