On 23 January, the Regional Investment Centre organised a webinar on ecotourism, one of the challenges of the second edition of the Territory Development Challenge 2023

Ecotourism, a sustainable response to the seasonal nature of the tourism sector in northern Morocco


The virtual meeting on the challenge of ecotourism in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region provided food for thought on the possible ways of developing the regional offer in terms of ecotourism as a sustainable response to environmental problems on the one hand and a solution to the seasonal nature of tourism on the other.

To accompany the launch of the 2nd edition of the international open innovation competition "TDC 2023", the Regional Investment Centre is organising an informative webinar on the challenge of ecotourism in the region of Tangier Tetouan Al Hoceima, providing guidance to the community of project holders in this economic sector. 

This webinar is part of the seminars, hybrid B2B meetings and various workshops that will be held throughout the four months of the competition, in order to help participants to structure their projects and to inform themselves about the regional market.  

Yahya Abbasi, CEO of Casbah Tourism Development, explained that the focus on ecotourism is a strong point of the Territory Development Challenge 2023 international competition. 

For nature tourism, it is very important to learn about and improve practices and consumption patterns in order to turn this tourism economy into a sustainable and responsible activity that takes into account respect for the environment as the backbone of this economic field, Abbasi explained.  

Ecotourism can include all types of rural, sports and gastronomic tourism activities. Thus, hiking, cycling, exploring the cuisine and taking refuge in nature represent some of the activities that can be integrated into ecotourism practice. 

Tánger, Marruecos - PHOTO/FILE
Tangier, Morocco - PHOTO/FILE

"The development of ecotourism is no longer one of several newly discovered options, but a train that has been on the move for a long time," Abbasi said. Therefore, efforts must be made between the public and private sectors to improve the national and regional ecotourism offer, as it is a crucial factor in the development of the social and solidarity economy, he explained.

Abbasi mentioned the different dimensions to be taken into account when thinking about investing in ecotourism, being the product, the promotion, the prices among other factors that contribute to create value.

For his part, Abdelali Rahmani, the delegate of tourism in the city of Al Hoceima, stressed that tourism is a key sector in the region that generates 140000 direct jobs.  

Tetouan, Morocco - PHOTO/FILE

As an essential subsidiary of the regional tourism sector, ecotourism is developing thanks to the efforts of the state and its institutions, as a sustainable response to environmental threats and an economic activity respectful of local cultural and social traditions, which revitalises various localities in the TTA region.   

"Ecotourism is nourished by natural resources, infrastructures and human capital. In addition to this, the tangible and intangible heritage and handicraft products of the region," emphasised the tourism delegate.   

Rahmani concluded his intervention by giving the participants in the webinar some proposals for investment in the ecotourism sector in the region, such as opening farms/guest houses, high quality campsites, enhancing local gastronomy and collaborating with agricultural cooperatives. 

In this way, ecotourism plays a key role as a solution to the challenge of seasonality of the tourism sector in the region of Tangier Tetouan Al Hoceima; diversifying the offer and the beneficiaries, as Abdelali Rahmani underlined.   

The owner of the Dardara guesthouse, Jaber El Hababi, shed light on the city of Chaouen as an attractive ecotourism destination thanks to its blue medina, its Akchor mountain and its Mediterranean coast with magnificent beaches and irresistible seafood.  

On its transversal side, ecotourism allows the integration of various activities such as camping, cycling, hiking, nature exploration...etc. Sharing experiences typical of each locality is, for El Hababi, essential for customer loyalty. 

PHOTO/PIXABAY - Tánger, Marruecos
Tangier, Morocco - PHOTO/PIXABAY 

"However, you have to know how to handle and manage this type of tourism so as not to threaten its sustainability by over-exploiting its natural resources to the point of exhaustion," he added.  

As a professional in the sector with a long career of more than 25 years, El Hababi recommended opening up to agriculture and the agri-food industry as sectors that should contribute to the development of ecotourism in the region, insisting on the importance of developing ecotourism products and strengthening inter-regional connectivity. 

Mohamed Azarkane, the head of the CRITTA annex in Al Hoceima, recalled that the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region is the meeting point for all types of tourism, starting with eco-tourism in Chaouen, Al Hoceima and other localities rich in attractive natural landscapes.

PHOTO/PIXABAY -Turismo en Marruecos
Tourism in Morocco - PHOTO/PIXABAY 

Tangier is considered an ideal destination for business tourism, as well as cultural and sports tourism. While the city of Ouazzane is distinguished by religious and spiritual tourism. 

In addition to its cultural richness, the TTA region enjoys natural resources, tourist destinations par excellence distributed in its different provinces; of which the following national parks stand out:  

  • Talassemtane national park near Chaouen.  
  • Bouhachem Park in Ouazzane 
  • Akchor Park in Chaouen  
  • Cap Spartel Park in Tangier  
  • Boujibar Al Hoceima National Park 

The new edition of the Territory Development Challenge 2023, organised digitally through the Community Virtual Integrated Support Hub Manar Al Moustatmir, aims to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit within the region, as well as to contribute to the economic momentum and strengthen the regional offer.  

FOTO/AFP - Terminal I del puerto Tanger Med
Terminal I of the port Tanger Med - FOTO/AFP 

The competition focuses on the region's six key challenges: supporting territorial animation and public spaces, industry and logistics, the blue economy, the sports industry, the green economy and ecotourism.   

The aim is to identify and support innovative and pioneering solutions that address the region's development imperatives in these sectors.