The system to facilitate the return of foreign tourists to their home countries despite Morocco’s international travel ban has ended.
Casablanca – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release that there will be no more repatriation flights for international tourists after March 22, until further notice. The decision comes as part of Morocco’s measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Morocco first announced the suspension of flights to and from France on March 13 after concluding that the initial COVID-19 infections in Morocco were carried over from Italy and France. On March 15, Morocco extended the measure, suspending all international flights.
Almost a hundred special flights have been allowed in since the decision, enabling the repatriation of thousands of tourists that found themselves stranded in Morocco.
In addition to the authorization of repatriation flights, Morocco’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc (RAM), increased the capacity of its last commercial flights and their frequency, informed Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui on March 16.
Throughout the week, there have been dozens of additional flights announced by national airlines, with the last flights to the UK and the Netherlands leaving on March 19 and 22, respectively.
So far, Morocco has confirmed 115 cases of COVID-19, including four deaths and three recoveries. Morocco’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been swift and plausible in the light of cases skyrocketing by 400% within a week.
Morocco is estimated to lose at least 100,000 tourists in March alone amid the coronavirus outbreak, with estimated financial losses reaching millions of dollars.
Tourism represented nearly 11% of Morocco’s GDP in 2019. According to the head of Morocco’s tourism association, Abdellatif Kabbaj, this year’s crisis is expected to bring about losses reaching $3.5 billion.