Impact of pandemic on tourism in Morocco

Jun 17, 2020

In early March 2020, tour guide Faycal was guiding a group of tourists in the Sahara Desert when the news broke that there are two cases of coronavirus in Marrakech, the red city flowing with tourists in their highest season.

Since then Morocco adopted serious measures to contain the propagation of coronavirus in the country starting from banning the international flights and ferries between the country and France or Spain. Public places and schools were closed progressively until the declaration of emergency state March 22th. Since then not only official permission from authorities are required to move from one city to another but also masks are mandatory as soon as you step outside.

It would be the last tour that Faycal would have given before borders across the world shut down. As of today borders are still closed and guides like Faycal are staying at home while looking forward to welcoming tourists again.

The impact of coronavirus on the travel industry is huge

Within days half of the world population is under lockdown and no one could move more than one kilometre from his front door. The impact of the coronavirus on the travel industry has already been sharp while the number of flights worldwide has dropped from some 200,000 on February 21 to 64,000 on March 31, according to website FlightRadar 24. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 96% of the world’s destinations are currently impacted by travel restrictions and other lockdown measures. Moreover UNWTO expects international tourism to drop up to 80% in 2020 depending on when border closures and restrictions on international travel are lifted. Thus, the social and development impact is impacting millions of jobs tourism related.

What about Morocco ?

Since Morocco came under lockdown, the tourism sector is one of the hardest-hit pillars of the national economy. According to an estimation given by the National Tourism Confederation, Morocco will see a 39% drop in tourists and lose over $13.85 billion in tourism revenue between 2020 and 2022. When it comes to a country like Morocco whose GDP depends in large part on the tourism industry as of 11%, there is an emergency to help this beautiful country to avoid this billion losses.

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