The Moroccan government is aiming to set up an electronic platform of the Ministry of Tourism to regulate the informal accommodation sector via digital platforms, especially the international site “Airbnb”, with the aim of subjecting it to competition, after it was found to attract more tourists at the expense of classified housing establishments.
The sector has become increasingly popular in Morocco and its development has become a concern for the Ministry of Tourism because its activities are “unfair competition for classified tourist accommodation enterprises.” The sector is “not subject to duties and taxes and does not respect the legal framework and standards required for security, In addition to employing unqualified employees,” according to professionals in tourism.
According to Lamia Boutaleb, the State Secretary to the Minister of Tourism, this week in Parliament, the number of tourists to Morocco increased last year by 14 per cent, but overnight stays rose by only 8 per cent, Accommodation or rooms or sports across digital platforms, notably Airbnb, rather than classified housing establishments.
The ministry acknowledges that the Moroccan tourism product is diversified, but this does not reflect on the profitability of the sector. The duration of tourist stays in Morocco does not exceed three days, which means that it does not benefit from the diversity of the tourism product offered by the Kingdom. The Ministry linked this to the fact that mountain destinations, for example, do not have infrastructure for recreation and revitalization.
The Moroccan Ministry of Tourism has long been engaged in a discussion with digital platforms specializing in individual home rental ads such as Airbnb in order to find a solution to market this unstructured product. An electronic platform is expected to be introduced. To sign up for a special number and to sign certain conditions and criteria.
The US State Department’s Office of Tourism has revealed that the site will require this number to allow ads to be displayed by Moroccan tenants on its pages. The site will also have taxes and fees on the services it provides and revenue generated in Morocco.
In recent years, foreigners and Moroccans have been increasingly renting homes through this American site. Morocco has ranked second in Africa after South Africa, and depends only on the host person creating a profile page for the place he or she rents.
Professionals consider that this sector is unorganized and harms the traditional sector. It is based on the treatment of people to rent rooms or houses without traveling through travel agencies, and therefore not to go to the classified hotels, but another opinion sees this as a kind of inevitable transformation which forces hotels to go to customers with attractive offers to succeed in attracting them.