Out of 3,989 certified tourist accommodation establishments in Morocco, only 520 remain open.
The minister announced on May 5 the impacts of the pandemic on Morocco’s tourism sector during a meeting of the Productive Sectors Committee at the House of Representatives.
Alaoui revealed that the state of emergency has caused a 63% decline in hotel stays since Morocco came under lockdown on March 20. The decline includes classified accommodation establishments in popular tourist hubs such as Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, Meknes, and Essaouira.
Out of 3,989 tourist accommodation establishments, 3,465, or 87%, are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 520 establishments remain open.
“Everyone acknowledges that the two sectors of tourism and air transport will need a bigger support than other sectors, because the crisis is global, and we cannot advance the sector independently,” Alaoui said.
“Unfortunately, the sector of tourism in Morocco will not recover as fast as other sectors that are expected to re-adapt within a few weeks,” she continued.
Alaoui indicated that the tourism ministry’s plan to weather the crisis will be “cautious and progressive” by “encouraging short holidays,” launching campaigns to promote domestic tourism, and diversifying touristic products.
The daunting figures detailing the impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Morocco follows the government’s April 30 decision to adopt Draft Bill 30.20 in support of the industry.
Alaoui presented the bill, which lays out specific provisions relating to travel contracts, tourism residences, and air passenger transport.
Having completely suspended all activity in mid-March, the tourism sector is one of the hardest-hit pillars of the national economy. Tourism is the second-largest contributor to Morocco’s economy, accounting for 11% of its GDP.
A study by the National Tourism Confederation (CNT) estimated Morocco will see a 39% drop in tourists and lose over $13.85 billion in tourism revenue between 2020 and 2022.
Globally, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) expects international tourism to drop up to 80% in 2020 depending on when border closures and restrictions on international travel are lifted.
The worst-case scenario predicts a $1.2 trillion loss for the global tourism industry—an unprecedented hit, according to UNWTO.