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Vision 2010 and the Plan Azur
On January 10th 2001 at the National Meeting on Tourism in Marrakech King Mohamed VI announced the launch of a new tourism policy for Morocco. He had recognised that the country had been underachieving in the tourism sector; it's unbeatable combination of climate, culture and stunning natural scenery should have placed it at the forefront of world travel destinations.
The King announced a new sustainable, integrated tourism policy known as "Vision 2010" the aim of which was to boost visitor numbers from 2 million to 10 million a year (7 million of which are international visitors). A total of 9 million euros was designated for the launch of the new sea tourist resorts and infrastructure, creating 600,000 new jobs and resulting in tourism contributing 20% to the GDP of the country.
In order to achieve the goals of the Vision 2010 programme it was recognised that certain areas of the country should be granted special status and with this in mind six "Plan Azur" areas were identified. These six "Blue Zones" were all established on stretches of the coastline recognised for their outstanding natural beauty and untapped tourist potential. Each area would be given a designated theme such as culture, sustainability, or sport to act as a coherent strategy for development.
Property in these areas benefit from a number of tax advantages attractive to the overseas property purchaser. Property buyers benefit from the exemption from tax on rental income for five years, no inheritance tax and no capital gains if the property is sold after 10 years. Inheritance tax can also be greatly reduced if the property is left to a direct family member.
So far the programme has been progressing with impressive efficiency and many of the new motorways, airport expansion programmes and marketing initiatives are well advanced. Indeed, it is a measure of its progress already achieved that the respected London agency Superbrands identified Morocco as the second most desirable brand in the overseas travel market.
If you would like to download the official overview of the 2010 programme please click here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Saidia - The first to be launched and was awarded to the Spanish developer FADESA. Construction work here is underway with the Marina and many apartments and villas close to completion. It is the only Plan Azur area situated on the Mediterranean coast. Villas, apartments and penthouses are available for sale in Saidia now.
Larache - Situated on the Atlantic coast near to the town of Larache this development will feature a marina and golf course with health, well being and sports as its main focus. The project developer is a respected Belgian construction company who will shortly be announcing details of the property types available.
Mogador - Near to the popular and fashionable destination of Essaouira the main feature of this Belgian backed development will be two signature Gary Player golf courses, the resort will also feature hotels, riads and villas all laid out around the spectacular courses. The facilities and location will make this the ideal beach resort of the large affluent Marrakech market.
Mazagan - Situated on the Atlantic coast, south of Casablanca, (near the business and financial axis of Casablanca-Rabat) this resort will feature a world class casino, two golf courses set along 15km of prime beachfront. The main developer is a South Africa company who were responsible for the world famous Sun City Resort.
Taghazout - Awarded to a major American real estate development company, this development near to the long-established resort of Agadir on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. This area has the advantage of an established international airport only 40km away in Agadir. Taghazout will offer a diverse range of leisure and sports pursuits, in particular two golf courses for a total of 27 holes, a Medina with local arts and crafts, a luxury Spa, a private clinic (Argano-Therapy) and a research facility dedicated to research and exploiting the products of the argan tree. (Note: Argan oil is a little darker than olive oil, with a reddish tinge. It can be used for cooking and is claimed to have various medicinal properties, such as lowering cholesterol levels, stimulating circulation and strengthening the body's natural defences. Internationally, there is some interest in its possible cosmetic uses.)
Plage Blanche - Yet to be awarded or launched, although it is looking increasingly likely that an English developer, together with FADESA will be awarded the zone. This area, the province of Guelmim, in the mountainous south of Morocco is famous for its stunning landscapes and golden beaches.