Morocco’s tourism sector may experience a favorable development in the coming months, but it will remain modest given this year’s crisis.
Rabat – Morocco’s tourism receipts declined by 33.2% in the first six months of 2020, representing a loss of MAD 11.1 billion ($1.21 billion).
In a new report, Morocco’s Department of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF) emphasized that the tourism sector experienced a drop in added value of 7% in the first quarter of 2020.
Compared to an increase of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2019, the difference represents a notable drop in terms of revenues.
Morocco’s tourism revenues witnessed a decrease of 71.7% in the second quarter of 2020, representing a loss of MAD 11.8 billion ($1.29 billion).
The number of tourist arrivals in Morocco decreased by 63% at the end of June 2020, while overnight stays in classified accommodation establishments fell by 59%.
For the month of June, the number of overnight stays stood at 68,199, down by 97% in one year, the DEPF report said.
“A more favourable development, although modest, is expected in the coming months, especially by the revival of the local tourist market,” the report said.
Morocco’s state media said the country suffered a drop of 69% in tourist arrivals and 60% in foreign exchange earnings. Meanwhile, Morocco’s tourism sector lost 50% of its jobs.
Morocco signed a project contract on August 3 in favor of the tourism sector, bringing together public and private actors at national and regional levels in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
The contract covers the years 2020-2022 with 21 measures to give a boost to Morocco’s tourism sector and help it recover.
The tourism sector is key for Morocco’s economy, contributing 11% to the country’s GDP.
Economic experts in the country were forecast a steep drop in tourism sector indicators due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Morocco’s closed borders.
Millions of tourists arrive in Morocco for business, leisure, or to visit family in every season. The country’s decision to close borders as part of the preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, however, directly affected the tourism sector.
Part of the country has enjoyed eased lockdown measures since June, prompting an uptick in domestic tourism. However, major cities known for tourism such as Marrakech are closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 hotspots.
The director of the Local Tourism Office (CRT) in Ouarzazate shared with Morocco World News the result of a study he carried out on the pandemic’s impacts on the tourism sector.
The study shows that Morocco risks losing 10.5 million tourists and over 10.8 million overnight stays in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.