The last few months have seen a major change in the outlook for the Moroccan economy with tourism becoming a larger and larger part of everyday life in the country. There are a number of investment projects on the go and the feeling is that the country is set to become a new magnet for both tourists and property investors. But why has Morocco suddenly sprung to life and what is the potential for the future?
There are a number of elements which seem to be dropping into place in Morocco and while the worldwide property market and tourist industry are struggling at the moment Morocco is still a fairly prosperous country. The elements which property investors need to consider are:-
Increased transport network
Since the announcement that Air Arabia was looking to establish a new base in Morocco there has been much interest in the region and slowly but surely tourism has become the major industry in the country. The beauty about the Air Arabia link is the fact that this is an airline which serves a number of European destinations and will no doubt look to increase the number of routes on offer as and when demand starts to pick up.
As we have covered on a number of occasions on the site, without access to any one property market around the world there is very little chance for international property investors to sample the properties on offer never mind actually invest money. However, the first improvement which the country will see is an increased number of tourists to the area which will form a solid base for growth in the local property market.
Change in tourist trends
As well as the larger transport network for countries such as Morocco, there has been a major shift in travel trends with more and more tourists looking to sample the delights of the less mainstream countries such as Morocco. The fact that so much information is now available on the Internet has made more and more people aware of the delights of these non-traditional destinations which offer a culture and an experience which many tourists have been seeking for years.
The ability of the Moroccan tourist sector to adapt and build on the ever-growing interest in the region is the key to the future and as we will cover later in this article the industry has help from very high places.
Internal investment into Morocco is the key
The last few years have seen a major investment into the Moroccan economy which has diversified the dependence upon agriculture and industry by bringing a service-based economy to the mix. This has greatly increased the size of the Moroccan economy which is led by an ever-growing tourist industry that continues to go from strength to strength. The King of Morocco, King Mohammed, has taken control of the country’s tourism industry and has presented very ambitious plans to increase visitor numbers to 7,000,000 a year by 2010.
However, the King has backed up these ambitious plans with significant investment into the country’s infrastructure which has created a vast number of property investment opportunities for both local and international property investors. Official estimates suggest that upwards of £7 billion will be spent improving and expanding the infrastructure of Morocco with the development of a new airport, improvement in the internal transport systems and a massive investment into the services industry on the cards.
The culture of Morocco
The key to the success of the expansion of the Moroccan tourist industry will be the ability to both modernise and improve services and systems available locally in the country as well as retaining the culture and beauty of the area which is what the tourist industry will be looking for.
Many tourists around the world still view the likes of Morocco as mysterious places which have until recently been fairly inaccessible on both a practical and official level. However, as the tourist industry looks to expand into new and exciting areas it is countries such as Morocco which do offer something a little different which are starting to attract much of the attention.
Is Morocco immune to the worldwide slowdown?
While it would be foolish to suggest that any country is immune from the worldwide slowdown, official figures from Morocco suggest that the country is still in the middle of a substantial growth period which will see the economy grow by in excess of 6% this year. When you also take into account the billions of dollars of development still ongoing in the country, apparently untouched by financial concerns, there does seem to be something of a cocoon developing around the Moroccan property market.
However, there is still a great dependence on overseas property investors and overseas visitors which will at some point catch-up with the ongoing developments in the country. If the worldwide slowdown is not as long and deep as many are suggesting then there is every chance that by the time domestic demand starts to weaken, much of the slack could have been picked up by overseas investors again.
At this moment in time the indicators for the Moroccan economy are all very positive and the banking system has historically been run on a much more conservative basis than those in the Western world. It is in situations such as we are experiencing around the world today that the less expansive and less risky financial systems of countries such as Morocco are coming to the fore.
Morocco is one of many smaller countries around the world which have run their financial systems and economies on a much more conservative and risk-free basis that some in the Western world. Historically this was seen as a negative by many property investors but after the recent events in the US this could well be a turning point for these types of economies.
Morocco is still relatively untouched compared to many property markets around the world and the massive increase in property investment is a perfect reflection of this. The added emphasis given to the growth campaign by the King of Morocco offers substantial weight and substantial support for those looking to invest in the country in the future. Morocco is most certainly a property market which you should consider and continue to review on an ongoing basis.