Morocco is among the 10 countries whose tourism sector is most impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabat – According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest report, Morocco’s tourism sector is the fourth most impacted in the world by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an estimated direct impact equating to 3.8% of GDP, Morocco ranks among the 10 countries calculating the greatest loss from tourism revenues since COVID-19 began its global spread.
The North African country’s tourism sector is only better off than those of Portugal (4.3%), Greece (6%), and Thailand (6.1%).
Other countries listed in the top 10 include Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand.
The IMF measures net tourism income by subtracting expenditures of residents who travel abroad. The report notes that Morocco’s tourism sector ranks number one in terms of countries most affected by the balance of payments.
The report, released on August 4, states that “international tourism has been among the hardest hit sectors during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Between January and April, international tourism arrivals were down 50% compared to the same period in 2019. Hotel reservations saw even greater declines.
Overall, at least 11% of Morocco’s GDP depends on tourism. Last month, Moroccan tourism expert Zouhir Bouhout told Morocco World News that the country risks losing a total of 10.5 million tourists and over 19.8 million overnight stays in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“The tourism sector is undoubtedly the sector most affected by the coronavirus crisis,” Bouhout said. He concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic “destroyed” all of Morocco’s efforts to establish its well-renowned tourism sector.
According to a study he conducted, “it is very likely that the achievements of 2020 would be similar with the figures recorded at the beginning of the 1980s.”