The tourism sector in Morocco is burdened by the strict restrictions related to the Corona virus applied in the country, such as a Complete no-fly zone. According to the complainants, these measures harm the competitive position of the state. Vacationers choose alternative destinations such as Egypt and Turkey, or so it seems.
Morocco closed its borders at the end of November and will not reopen them until the end of January. The country has also banned New Year’s celebrations and has strict regulations when it comes to vaccination certificates in response to the omikron variant of the coronavirus.
Lahcen Zelmatt, president of the Moroccan Hotel Federation, called the restrictions “unfair” because the country is losing tourists to other Mediterranean competitors. Zelmatt said hotels in Marrakesh, one of the top tourist attractions, have an occupancy rate of only 14 percent in usually high season. He is not alone in his complaint. Tour operators and restaurant owners are also critical of Moroccan politics.
In 2019, the last year before the Corona crisis, Morocco made about 7 billion euros in tourism. This represents approximately 7 percent of the Moroccan economy. The country’s central bank expects the sector to be worth just under €3.2 billion this year.
By the time the borders are reopened, Morocco will find it difficult to warm up tourists again due to the sudden closure of the borders, as the tourism industry fears. In addition, domestic tourism is not close enough to make up for the lack of foreign tourists.
The government pays a bonus of 2,000 dirhams (190 euros) to tourism workers affected by the crisis. The complainants say that this assistance does not apply to companies and workers who earn their livelihood indirectly through tourism.
Morocco is the most vaccinated country in Africa. 23 million people out of a total population of 36 million have already received two shots. Nearly 3 million people received a booster shot.
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