“I emphasize the necessity of the tourism sector to overcome this crisis with the least possible damage," said Adel El Fakir, the general director of the Moroccan National Tourism Office.
Rabat – The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) announced on April 26 the launch of the “3lamantlakaw” campaign, meaning “Until We Meet,” to support and encourage the tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid the economic crisis, the novel coronavirus has caused worldwide, the tourism sector in Morocco is experiencing its severe effects.
The president of the National Tourism Confederation (CNT), Abdellatif Kabbaj, said the tourism sector could lose as much as MAD 34 billion ($3.4 billion) by the end of 2020. The hotel sector alone could record losses of MAD 15 billion ($1.5 billion).
“We have succeeded in executing projects that we can be proud of on both the national and international levels. Today has been the launch of one of these projects, which is the campaign ‘Ala Mantlakau,’” said Adel El Fakir, general director of the Tourism Office, in a video message.
“This campaign is an honest invitation to accompany all Moroccans during the lockdown period and to remind us all of the extent of the country’s wealth and it’s unity, that our country is our most valuable resource,” the general director said.
El Fakir added that his office is preparing other projects will announce them “very soon.” He also emphasized the necessity of “the tourism sector to overcome this crisis with the least possible damage.”
“We have the privilege that we are in a country led by his King, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who has taken all necessary measures to ensure our protection and our security,” he noted.
El Fakir stressed that the current unprecedented crisis “must not prevent us from remaining united, or from neglecting our basic tasks,” as everyone works “on a single goal: the interest of the country.”
Unless the government mobilizes a plan to save the tourism sector, the country will lose over $13.85 billion (MAD 138 billion) between 2020 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 crisis, the CNT said in a study.
According to the CNT, the sector may experience a 39% drop in the number of tourists, with billions of dirhams in losses.
The losses could affect 3,500 tourist accommodation contractors, 500 tourist catering enterprises, 1,450 travel agencies, 1,500 tourist transport contractors, and 1,500 car rental companies.
On April 13, the president of the Regional Hotel Industry Association (ARIH) for the Casablanca area confirmed that nearly 90% of hotels closed their doors in the Casablanca-Settat area.
The CNT has taken some measures to support the sector’s enterprises and help them to overcome the economic impact of the coronavirus, mainly by suspending or canceling contributions to the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and the Moroccan Professional Pension Fund, as well as approving tax exemptions on income tax, corporate tax, and value-added tax throughout the period of this crisis.
Bank benefits were also postponed for a period of 12 months, maintaining borrowing lines and opening lines of credit for 12 months while reducing the interest rate to 2% during this period.