Moroccan University Opens New Branches with US Help
Al-Akhawayn University, based in the Atlas mountain resort of Ifrane, has opened two tourism management and marketing branches with help from an American university.
In a partnership agreement with George Washington University in Washington DC, courses will be given by the American school's International Tourism Studies Institute.
The Ifrane University is the first Moroccan educational institution to offer tourism management and marketing courses.
"The new branches are meant to help tourism executives and operators develop and perfect their knowledge and know-how in a sector that offers wide horizons for Morocco,'' the university said in a statement.
Morocco has varied natural landscape: mountains, desert, a long Mediterranean coast and the Atlantic coast in addition to an ancient culture and political stability.
However, this potential remains largely under exploited, as only 2 million foreign tourists visit Morocco annually. The figure is low compared to 20 million in neighboring Spain and 5 million in Tunisia.
The proposed syllabi include assessment of tourism activities, analysis of destinations, environment and tourism and means to sharpen tourism competitive edge, the university said.
It added that special emphasis will be put on environmental protection in the development of tourism infrastructure.
Al-Akawayn University was built in the mid-1990s with Saudi financial assistance. The University's name means "the two brothers", referring to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Morocco's late King Hassan II.
It is the first private university in Morocco, costing between $3,000 and $6,000 a year and offering an English-based education in management, human sciences and engineering.
Morocco already has a public tourism institute, based in the northern city of Tangiers.
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