BEST CEO in the tourism investment promotion industry
Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development
Tourism is of vital importance to the economies of many countries around the world, and Morocco is no different. Since becoming CEO of the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) in 2011, Imad Barrakad has made attracting tourism investment to Morocco a priority. In fact, he worked hard to develop a mix of products that would satisfy both tourists’ needs and investors’ expectations.
Under Barrakad’s guidance, SMIT has participated in events that bring together global players in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Public-private partnerships have been particularly important to Barrakad, who has carefully chosen investors based on their commitment to job creation and the redistribution of profit to the local population.
Two of the schemes championed by Barrakad during his time at SMIT include a beach resort initiative and a natural and cultural product development programme, both of which promote Morocco as an attractive tourism investment destination without compromising on sustainability. As a result, many international hospitality brands –
Marriott, Hilton and Meliá – have opened hotels in the country. Investments such as these have helped ensure that tourism growth delivers broad social, economic and environmental benefits.
From 1994 to 2000, Barrakad worked at Morocco’s Interior Ministry, after which he spent nine years at the National Office of Electricity as head of marketing and promotion.
In his time at SMIT, Barrakad has played a leading role in developing the country’s tourism offering, which has significantly evolved since the start of the decade. In 2011, the country had 2,500 accommodation establishments and a bed capacity of 190,000. In 2017, it had 4,000 accommodation establishments and a bed capacity of 260,000; these are increases of 37 percent and 38 percent respectively. Clearly, Barrakad’s work is having a positive impact on the country’s tourism sector.