The bill aims to limit the stagnation of economic activity and its impact on jobs in the Moroccan tourism sector.
Rabat – Morocco’s government council convened today in the capital city to adopt Draft Bill 30.20, setting measures to support the tourism sector in the wake of steep losses due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui presented the bill, which lays out specific provisions relating to travel contracts, tourism residences, and air passenger transport.
Draft Bill 30.20 falls under Article 5 of Law 2.20.292 enacting special provisions for a state of health emergency and entailing the measures for declaring it.
Law 2.20.292 permits the Moroccan government to take the necessary actions to mitigate the repercussions of the emergency state, explained Minister of Education Said Amzazi during a press briefing after the cabinet meeting on April 30.
The law, therefore, provides for the establishment of a legal framework allowing providers of travel, tourism, tourist transport, and air passenger transport services to reimburse their customers.
Under Draft Bill 30.20, tourism service providers may reimburse their customers via an “IOU,” offering a similar or equivalent service without any rate increase. The new measure serves to limit the stagnation of economic activity and its impact on jobs by reducing the pressure on the providers’ cash flow, Amzazi said.
Draft Bill 30.20 also aims to keep Moroccan tourism service providers from going bankrupt while protecting the interests of providers’ creditors and customers. The bill also serves to stimulate demand for tourism services and preserve the value of trade in Morocco by avoiding possible payments in foreign currency, Amzazi continued.
The provisions of the bill are limited in time and with specific conditions, relating to traveler contracts active between March 1 and September 30 that were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said.
Tourism is the second-largest contributor to Morocco’s economy, accounting for 11% of its GDP. Having completely suspended all activity in mid-March, the tourism sector is one of the hardest-hit pillars of the national economy.
A study by the National Tourism Confederation (CNT) expects Morocco to see a 39% drop in tourists and lose over $13.85 billion in tourism revenue between 2020 and 2022 if the country does not urgently mobilize a plan to save the crucial sector.
The CNT predicts the current situation will continue until December 2020 and tourism will start recovering gradually by April 2021. With international flights grounded until at least May 31, tourism providers in Morocco urgently need all the protection they can get.
While Draft Bill 30.20 is a step in the right direction, Moroccan tourism will need intensive care to stay afloat until the sector returns to its normal vibrancy.