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Opening a hotel in Morocco

Opening a hotel in Morocco in 5 steps : the formalities

Opening a hotel in Morocco involves a strict procedure: choosing the legal form in Morocco, obtaining operating licenses and permits in Morocco, complying with safety and accessibility regulations...

In Morocco, your dream has always been to run a hotel: managing a team, taking care of your customers, offering quality services, all in an environment that you enjoy. You’ve decided to open or take over a hotel in this country.
However, before welcoming your first customers to Morocco, there are a number of steps to take. Once you’ve drawn up a business plan and chosen the operating method for your establishment, you’ll need to complete various formalities, such as making a declaration, obtaining licences, registering your company, taking out insurance and other administrative formalities.
By following these steps, you will be able to open the doors of your establishment and start welcoming your first customers legally in Morocco.

Planning your project before opening your hotel in Morocco

The tourism economy is booming, and now is the perfect time to open your hotel in Morocco! Whether you’re looking for a cosy place to call home, something original and trendy, or a luxury hotel with a spa, you need to build solid foundations to make your project a reality and ensure its longevity. Starting a business is not something you can improvise!

The business plan

As with any business, it is essential to work out the figures before asking yourself how to become an entrepreneur. Launching a hotel in Morocco requires substantial financing, and a solid, well-constructed business plan will be crucial in obtaining funds from investors and banks. Operation seduction starts here!

Start by analysing your location: is it a popular tourist destination? Is there a lot of competition? Gîtes, bed and breakfasts, hotels… who are your competitors? Also think about your future clientele. Your business plan should include your market study, your team and your strategy. The aim is to prove that your project is more than just an abstract idea, and that your hotel in Morocco is ready to become operational.

Finances are also an essential aspect of your business plan. Determine the investment budget, financing plan, profit and loss account and forecasts, being as precise as possible with the figures.

Finally, a business plan can also include an action plan with an associated communication strategy, as well as objectives for the first three years of your hotel in Morocco, for example.

Hotel takeovers, start-ups, franchises: the choice of start-up and operating method

To open and run a hotel in Morocco, you can set up your own hotel, take over an existing one, or operate it independently under a management contract or franchise.

If you choose to take over or set up an independent hotel, you have complete autonomy as owner. You control the management of your establishment yourself, which means you can respond more quickly to customer requests and personalise your service. However, this mode of operation presents greater challenges than outsourced management or franchising, not only in financial terms but also in terms of skills and know-how: the hotel business is a complex field that requires a wide range of skills.

On the other hand, franchising has the advantage of guiding the operator through the management of his establishment, while offering him the notoriety of a recognised brand. This can be reassuring for customers and facilitate access to shared resources.

Another option is a management contract with a hotel chain or an independent company. This allows the hotel owner to outsource the management of his establishment to professionals, which can lighten the workload and provide additional expertise.

Completing all the formalities for opening a hotel in Morocco

To open and/or take over a hotel in Morocco, you must first complete a number of formalities specific to the sector.

Declaration of operation: Before opening your hotel, you are required by law to make a declaration of operation to the prefecture of the département where your establishment will be located. In this way, you inform the prefect, and therefore the State, of the imminent opening of a hotel in his department.

Health declaration: Some départements require hotel professionals to make a health declaration to the prefecture before opening their establishment. This is particularly the case for hotel-restaurants. It is advisable to contact the prefecture beforehand to find out whether this obligation applies.
Applying for prior authorisation for building work: If you are planning to build and/or renovate your hotel, you will need to apply to the town hall for prior authorisation: a building permit or prior declaration of work. Once permission has been granted, the work can begin.
A public house licence for the sale of alcoholic beverages: If you plan to sell alcoholic beverages as part of your services, you will need an operating licence. This permit is issued after specific training, during which you will learn about the applicable regulations.

The choice of legal form will depend on a number of criteria, such as :

  • the size of the hotel
  • the number of partners
  • the desired level of responsibility
  • development objectives, etc.

Opening a hotel in Morocco obviously involves setting up a company, a legal structure to oversee the operation of the business. You can choose from among the various forms of company that exist. It’s up to you to choose the one best suited to your business (SARL, SA, SAS). If in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. This is a very important choice, and it will have an impact on your pay and the level of social security cover you receive.

What are the formalities involved in opening a hotel in Morocco?

After that, you will need to register your business with the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés (RCS). You should be aware that this registration must be carried out no later than 15 days after the opening of your hotel. I strongly recommend that you do this before the opening of your hotel.

Hotel taxation in Morocco:

When you establish a hotel in Morocco, you are exempt from corporate income tax for the first five years.

In the hotel business, each service has its own specific tax regime. For room rental, i.e. accommodation, the VAT rate applied is 10%, i.e. a reduced rate, while all other services have their own full VAT rate, with the exception of ancillary services.
Tourist tax is levied by local authorities on a flat-rate basis. It is included in the sale price paid by the customer, and does not have to appear on the invoice.
Now you know all the steps you need to take to open your hotel

Tourist hotel” classification: obtaining a star in Morocco

Optionally, you can have your hotel classified as a “tourist hotel”: following an assessment by an approved body, a number of stars between 1 and 5 is awarded to the hotel, to mark the quality of its service.

How do I get stars for a hotel in Morocco?

The investor or his representative submits an application for provisional classification and operating authorisation electronically, against a receipt, to the Regional Investment Centre in question. The classification application file comprises several documents, including the application form for provisional classification and operating authorisation. The form in question is determined by a joint decision of the government authority responsible for the interior and the government authority responsible for tourism. In particular, information must be provided on how the institution is managed and by whom, as well as the number and distribution of employees.

The file also includes a copy of the certificate of compliance relating to the business and a form concerning the standard criteria and equipment according to the type and category of the establishment. The Regional Investment Centre transfers the application file for provisional classification and the operating permit within two days of the date of its submission to the prefecture or region concerned in order to request the opinions of the civil protection services, the hygiene service and any other institution whose opinion may be useful if necessary. The application file is also forwarded to the provincial or regional representative of the government authority responsible for tourism so that they can study the file and visit the tourist accommodation establishment.

The establishment must comply with 100% of the mandatory standards and at least 70% of the total points for the additional standards.
Now you know all the steps you need to take to open your hotel.
In a nutshell:

  • Financing and business plan: As with any business, it’s essential to prepare a solid business plan to launch a hotel, as it requires significant financial investment.
  • Administrative formalities: Opening a hotel involves a number of formalities, including registering the business, choosing the legal form, drawing up the articles of association and obtaining the appropriate insurance.
  • Authorisations and licences: Make sure you obtain all the authorisations and licences you need to open your hotel, in accordance with current legislation.
  • Safety and accessibility rules: Operating a hotel must comply with strict safety, accessibility and administrative rules. These standards are crucial to obtaining a star rating.

Contact us today for a personalized consultation. Let’s explore how we can support your success in Morocco. Visit our website or directly reach out to our team to start your journey towards entrepreneurial success with confidence and clarity.

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