Dakhla and Laayoune are two popular destinations attracting increasing numbers of domestic tourists as the COVID-19 lockdown eases.
Rabat – After a prolonged lockdown and months of following Morocco’s strict state of emergency measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, domestic flights in Morocco are on the rise. Royal Air Maroc is responding to the high demand for in-country flights by increasing their frequency.
Following the permission to resume domestic flights on June 25, Royal Air Maroc began serving travelers with Casablanca-Dakhla flights.
Dakhla, well-known for its world-class waves and natural beauty, is a destination in high demand.
“All the flights are full,” said an airline employee. Unlike land travel, which is permitted to carry passengers at only 50% capacity, airplanes are authorized to book all seats. The airline company will increase direct flights on this route from three to five times a week.
The Western Sahara city located along a narrow peninsula of the Atlantic coast was spared the public health impact of the global pandemic, adding to its luring appeal as a summer travel destination.
Dakhla’s local business operators, including hotels, are offering special packages and offers in an attempt to attract customers and make up for months of lost tourist revenue. As well, flights are being offered at a subsidized price.
Like Dakhla, Laayoune is another popular destination in the Western Sahara to which Royal Air Maroc has resumed flying. Beginning July 5, Casablanca-Laayoune flights will also increase to five times a week.
Under normal circumstances, domestic flights connecting Casablanca to Dakhla and Laayoune run daily and tourism accounts for at least 11% of Morocco’s GDP. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, many working in the tourism industry have taken a hard hit as tourism came to a quick halt.
As many reconsider their international travel plans due to travel restrictions and safety precautions, many expect to see domestic tourism rise this year.