Hilton to expand Moroccan footprint with a new hotel


Times are rough for the Moroccan tourism industry due to the adverse effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the aura of doom and gloom, Hilton plans to open a new hotel that showcases it as a top tourist destination.

As an iconic hotel brand of international repute known for luxury and elegance, Conrad Hotels & Resorts is looking at a new addition according to a report by Hotelier Middle East. Morocco will host the new Conrad Rabat Arzana. American hotelier Conrad Hilton was the founder behind the iconic “Conrad Hotels & Resorts” brand. 

The new waterfront resort is slated for a 2021 opening where it will offer stunning views of the Atlantic Coast. The new establishment is 15 kilometers from Rabat, the Moroccan capital city, and features a variety of upmarket residences. Within the establishment are 120 keys, a salon, a pool lounge, 600 meters in event space. This is now the second property investment in the region by the Conrad brand, joining Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers which opened the previous month.

The Conrad brand is known for its luxurious hotels with modern designs. Presently, there are five Conrad hotels across the globe - three based in the United States. The brand is expanding her footprint across MENA with a new resort in the United Arab Emirates at the Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers.

This new drive to expand the footprint of the Hilton hotels across Morocco kick-started when global tourism numbers have seen a downward spiral. As the coronavirus hit, airports shut down, tourist arrivals dwindled, and the hospitality industry was forced to take a pause. Never has such a situation been imagined before. Most countries, including Morocco, went into lockdown, affecting tour companies, event centers, and private transportation.

The 36 million people nation recently imposed a lockdown on  Casablanca at a time when they were supposed to reopen for summer. New measures imposed were a night-time curfew. It was only last week when mosques countrywide were reopened for prayers. 

2020 was supposed to be a phenomenal year for the African tourism industry. Growth expectations were fixated at 3 to 5% according to the United World Tourism Organization (UWTO).

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A significant chunk of the hotel industry across the continent is driven by tourism. Trip cancellations and reschedulings have cost the continent $30 billion to $50 billion in revenues according to the United Nations. These figures are corroborated by Moroccan government data that has recorded a $1.2 billion drop in revenues from tourism in the first two quarters of 2020. Low economic activity accompanied by a health crisis has translated into economic hardship for many Morrocans who directly and indirectly make a living from the tourism sector.

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The future of the tourism industry remains inexplicitly linked with developments on the covid-19 front. Any quick prospect of a rebound is expected to coincide with the announcement of a vaccine or a global consensus on the new approach to a post-Covid-19 world marked by increased hygiene and social distancing measures.

In a ray of hope, the investment in a new Hilton hotel showcases the level of confidence, Morocco offers in terms of its future prospects. The government has also implemented a raft of measures to relieve those in the sector suffering from unemployment. Once the pandemic is brought fully under control, the Moroccan tourism industry is looking at a major rebound to recover its top spot as the leading tourism destination in Africa.

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