The project to regenerate the Old Medina quarter of Casablanca is part of Wessal Capital’s €530m Casa-Port project, which will transform the harbour and port area.
The restoration of the Old Medina is the second phase of the Casa-Port project, with work on the port redevelopment starting last week. When completed, Wessal Casa-Port will offer tourism infrastructure, including the development of the city’s first marina, an upgraded port and new commercial and cultural spaces. The public-private partnership is due for completion in five years.
The 50ha historic Old Medina quarter dates to the sixth century and has been a focus for Casablanca’s commercial and civic life for centuries. It was surrounded by a wall in the 16th century and is home to a raft of small businesses and artisan shops, as well as a number of public religious buildings. The regeneration works include creating a 3.7km tourist pathway winding through the medina and connecting with the new cruise ship terminal, going through all the major heritage buildings. The route, passing through commercial areas, workshops, bazaars, listed monuments and gardens, is designed revive the soul of the old town.
Tourism is the second largest contributor to Morocco's GDP and is also the second biggest job creator. In 2013, tourist arrivals exceeded 10 million for the first time. However, Casablanca is often overlooked as a tourist attraction by visitors who instead prioritise travel to other parts of the country, such as Marrakech and Fes. Enhancing the appeal of the medina, which has long been the heart of the city, together with the coastline district, is inteneded to help reposition Casablanca as a major destination for cultural, business and cruise tourism.