Spain's support for Morocco's plan for the autonomy of the Sahara has strengthened relations between the two neighboring countries. For some years now, Spain has been the first trading partner of the Alawite country, both for exports and imports, surpassing the historical partner France. There are many investments by Spanish companies in the country in sectors as varied as fishing, renewable energy, automotive, agri-food or tourism. This improvement in relations will translate into an increase in private investments in sectors or areas with high potential. The Souss Massa region is part of the latter for various reasons such as its good management, efficiency of its regional investment center and plans to renew tourist areas.

The Souss Massa region is located in the center of Morocco and is further subdivided into 4 provinces and 2 prefectures: Agadir Ida-Outanane prefecture, Inezgane-Aït Melloui and the provinces of Chtouka-Aït Baha, Taroudant, Tata and Tiznit .

This region is not characterized by its large size (7.6% of the national territory) or population (7.6% also of the total Moroccan population) nor by its GDP (6.7% of the national total). Its economy is based on the weight of fishing (24.2% of the national sectoral GDP) and tourism (15.1% of the national sectoral GDP and the 2nd tourist area in the country) and to a lesser extent on agriculture.

As we have mentioned before, it is the second tourist area in the country. The city of Agadir and its 180 kilometers of Atlantic coast are its main attraction, however, it also has other assets such as spas, cultural tourism among others in Tiznit or Taroudannt, rural areas with activities such as mountaineering...

The data demonstrates the potential and interest in the region:

  • 1,240,000 tourists in 2019, prior to the pandemic and travel restrictions. A third of visitors come from the national market followed by the French, Germans and British.
  • In that same year there was commercial air traffic of 2 million people at Agadir international airport, making it the 3rd busiest airport only behind Casablanca and Marrakech.
  • In 2019 it had more than 39,400 hotel beds, 78% of them in the city of Agadir. The region currently has 11 5-star hotels and 20 4-star hotels. It also has a strong auxiliary industry (transport companies, hospitality, tourist guides, activities...)
  • Regarding investment, the Commission Régionale Unifiée de l'Investissement (CRUI) approved in 2020 236 investment projects in projects of all types worth 13.96 billion Moroccan dirhams (1.31 billion euros) . This amount is 217% higher than that of 2019, specifically it was only 4.4 billion Moroccan dirhams (410 million euros). This increase in investment is also reflected in an increase in job creation, specifically 16,200 in 2020 compared to 11,700 the previous year. This represents 38% more than in 2019.
  • Despite this increase in investment and the number of projects, the Souss Massa Regional Investment Center takes less time than others in verifying and instructing investment processes, 10 days compared to the 20 days on the national average. This is due to its efficient digital platform and the simplification of processes. This also allows us, for example, to clearly see the necessary documents or know the process our project is in.

Some investment opportunities are:

In Agadir:

  • Business tourism, since various important events and festivals are already organized (Salon Halieutis, Timitar festival or the International Marathon) and the Congress Palace is under construction.
  • In the following map, prepared by the CRI of Souss Massa, we can see the different investment opportunities in the metropolis of Agadir. These are 15 areas with an area of more than 1,300 hectares.

These include different themes as varied as Anchor Point (Hotels and other infrastructure necessary for surfing), the Drarga entertainment park, Cap Ghir ecological tourism area, LqJliâa entertainment area, hotel areas...

In the different provinces of the region there are also other projects such as the Taraoudannt tourist areas of more than 69 hectares, the ecological tourism area in the Souss Mssa national park (1000 hectares) and a long etcetera.

Due to its fame both nationally and internationally, existing hotel infrastructure and auxiliary industry, its proximity to cities such as Marrakech, the future high-speed train planned between Casablanca and Agadir passing through Marrakech, the ambitious renovation plans of the city of Agadir (Agadir Urban Development Program 2020-2024) or the efficiency of its regional administration; make the possibility of investing in the Souss-Massa region interesting.

Source: Jorge Lois, consultant and market analyst at Indegate Consulting