The valley of Dades: A great tourism potential and climate challenges
Interview with the Mayor of Boumalne Dades, Mr. Mohamed Kacha.
Interview by Mariem Berdouzi
The Dades Valley is a popular tourist destination. The Oued of Dades, which irrigates its desert valley and forms oases, is located between the Sarho jbel and the High Atlas Mountains.
Also called the valley of roses, it owes its green hues to the many market gardens.
Its waters cross the famous Dades Gorges, while its roads wind through the foothills of the High Atlas.
It is clear that a great tourist potential is there, and the persons in charge as well as the inhabitants are trying to maximize its value. To learn more, we interviewed Mr. Mohamed Kacha, the Mayor of the city of Boumalne Dades.
Can you introduce your town Boumalne Dades?
The territorial municipality of Boumalne Dades, is located in Morocco, particularly in the region of Draa-Tafilalt, in the Province of Tinghir. It was created in 1992 by splitting the rural commune of Boumalne Dades, which dates from the first communal division in 1960, into an urban commune “Boumalne Dades” and a rural commune “Ait youl”. It covers an area of 76km2 and is situated at an altitude of 1600m.
Administratively, it is part of the Pachalik of Boumalne, Province of Ouarzazate, until 2009, the date of the creation of the Province of Tinghir.
The population of the territorial commune of Boumalne Dades reached 12328 inhabitants in 2014. Since 1994, it has experienced a moderate demographic growth, and the population is characterized by the relative importance of the active class, the 15-59 years represent 60% of the population, while the over 60 years represent only 7.2%. This population is distributed in a balanced way between men and women with a female rate of 51%.
The Dades Valley has a considerable touristic potential, can you tell us more about it?
The valley of Dades, with its exceptional landscapes, encourages tourists to come visit. Indeed, it is none other than the famous road of a thousand kasbahs in Morocco. It is on 170 km of landscape and it presents itself with notably the marvelous picture offered by the cliffs of ochre colors, the red and burned grounds.
The local cultural and natural heritage is very rich and diversified but not much developed for the sector of tourism: captivating landscapes, varied folklore, historical monuments, irrigated agriculture on developed plots, pastoralism, earthen architecture, intangible heritage.
As a matter of fact, these tourism potentialities remain undeveloped and can be developed and exploited, but this important historical, cultural and architectural heritage can be an asset for the area if it is integrated into new development concepts, especially tourism, by creating the necessary infrastructure that is also adapted to the arid oasis context.
Images taken by : واحة دادس الكبرى
Can you describe the expected impacts?
The tourism potential as a factor of local development is on one hand a source of economic growth, and on the other hand a mean of reducing poverty. In fact, this potential allows the creation of employment, so that it allows people to leave the isolation, and thus to have access to a wage income. This plays a very important role in the economic development of this region.
What place does the Dades Valley occupy in the national and international tourist landscape?
The Dades Valley is endowed with several touristic assets, namely the Dades gorges, the valley of roses but also its original landscapes and a remarkable earthen architecture. This natural beauty attracts and welcomes each year a significant number of national and international tourists. In addition, the majority of the tourists stop by to make a tour of the stores and buy local products, like products made with rose, as well as paintings of the valley, folkloric clothes and traditional dishes, which are very appreciated by tourists; moreover, they are a source of income for the valley.
How does this improve the employability of young people or create long-term employment?
Within the framework of the national strategy of the social and solidarity-based economy, Morocco has encouraged all economic initiatives seeking to create employment for young people; indeed, most young people have designed cooperatives and associations. They are responsible for the production of local products and their marketing. Thus jobs will be created.
How does the city plan to share its experience with the rest of Africa?
We have a lot to share on climate change and the different steps to ensure the sustainable development of the valley, as it has an arid climate and is characterized by the scarcity of resources. The local actors have decided to encourage the creation of small production units of local products instead of thinking of setting up large factories.
Do you have a specific message at the approach of the Africities 9 Summit in Kisumu, that will be held from May 17 to 21, 2022?
Morocco is a calm, peaceful and politically stable country. It is experiencing a significant development in terms of basic infrastructure that attracts investors. It is also a country of tradition, where modernity is combined with its past. The way of life and the social organization remain linked to the habits and customs. Thus, the change of scenery will always be available for tourists. Do not miss the opportunity to visit us and discover the beauty of Morocco! You’ll always be welcomed here, anywhere and anytime!