Morocco Gets Major Influx of Investment

Morocco, the African country on the continent's northwestern coast and immediately south of Spain, will get its first Wyndham hotel in June 2010, while high-end Raffles Hotels & Resorts plans to open a 150-room property in the city of Marrakech, located in the southern half of the nation, in 2009.

In 2001, the Moroccan government created its Vision 2010 plan to boost in-bound tourism. As part of that plan, six coastal resorts were announced, including Port Lixus, about 40 minutes south of Tangier's international airport.

Port Lixus is the site of the new 418-room Wyndham, construction of which begins in April, and which will be managed by Corinthia Hotels International (CHI). On 17 acres, the hotel will have meeting space (no square footage has been determined yet), a major spa, and three restaurants.

The Wyndham resort is part of phase one of Port Lixus, a 1,000-plus-acre area that is being developed into a tourism destination. Port Lixus will have two 18-hole golf courses; a 700-berth marina; retail, sports, and leisure attractions; several luxury hotels; and residential properties."

Both CHI and Wyndham are delighted ... We recognize Morocco to be a priority for expanding our African presence," said Tony Potter, CEO of CHI. "We are honored to be contributing to Morocco's Vision 2010 program."

Among the objectives of the program, which is keying on development of Atlantic Coast areas with tourism potential by creating hospitality as well as ground, rail, and air infrastructure, are 10 million annual visitors by 2010, 160,000 additional hotel rooms, and a fourfold increase in the country's tourism revenues. With an open-skies agreement with the European Union, the government also wants to increase airlift.

Meanwhile, the 150-room Raffles resort in Marrakech—three hours from Paris, London, and Madrid—will have 36 luxury villas, three restaurants, and meeting space for corporate meetings and executive retreats, though Raffles has not released details. It will also have a Raffles Amrita Spa, and it is nearby a golf course and Marrakech's business and entertainment district.

The property belongs to Somed, an alliance between Morocco and the United Arab Emirates that is intended to grow investment in Morocco. Somed has seven other African properties, in Casablanca, Tangier, and Agadir.

Originally published January 07, 2008