(Ecofin Agency) - Last year, Morocco cashed out MAD42.4 billion ($4.7 billion), less than the amount recorded a year before in tourism revenues. This makes a decline by 53.8% YoY, according to a report issued on Feb. 22 by the Department of Economic Studies and Financial Forecast (DEPF).
In 2019, Morocco’s tourism revenues grew by 7.8% and an upward trend was also expected for 2020 but the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted plans.
Since the first case was detected and the state of health emergency was declared in March 2020, measures have been taken, particularly concerning entry into and exit from the country, as well as internal movement. For example, flights to and from countries such as South Africa, Brazil, and more recently Switzerland and Turkey have been suspended. The country has also closed its sea and land borders to control the spread of the virus.
Fewer arrivals of tourists mean less money for the tourism sector, especially for hotels. DEPF reports that "the volume of arrivals to Morocco has fallen by 78.9% at the end of November 2020, against an increase of 5.3% at the end of November 2019, and that of overnight stays by 72.3%.”
However, the institution noted that the decline in revenue had improved in the fourth quarter of 2020, amounting to -46.1% against -80.1% in the third quarter. This is due to the easing of measures relating to the entry and exit from the Moroccan territory.
On October 1, 2020, the government announced a partial reopening of borders and the resumption of flights. However, travelers are required to present a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours before departure and, as appropriate, proof of employment or accommodation.
In recent days, the Moroccan government has strengthened its travel restriction policy to better address the new wave of contamination, pending the vaccination campaign to achieve herd immunity.