As summer around the corner, it remains to be seen whether Morocco will ease COVID-19 measures.
Rabat – Morocco’s tourism revenues declined by 65% in January and February of this year, compared to an estimated increase of 14.9% recorded during the same period in 2020, new statistics show.
The Directorate of Financial Studies and Forecasts (DEPF) attributed the decline in the sector directly to the impact of COVID-19.
The directorate, working under Morocco’s Ministry of Economy, explained that the health crisis caused an 81% decrease in tourist arrivals.
A year earlier during the same period, tourist arrivals increased by 6.1%.
The hotel and restaurant sector was most impacted by the pandemic, DEPF said. Although, the sector showed a deceleration in the downward pace during the third quarter of 2020.
The value of the sector has declined from 90% in the second quarter of 2020, to 65.2 % in the third quarter of 2020, and 57.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
A total decline of 54.8% at the end of last year. The number is compared to a 3.7% increase in the sector in the year before.
The tourism sector continues to suffer heavy impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Morocco is still in a state of emergency. The measure has been continually running since March 2020.
Despite restrictions easing, Morocco maintains strict preventive measures, including flight suspensions with 53 countries.
Due to the crisis in the sector, Morocco announced measures to mitigate the crisis on workers in the field.
One of the measures is the compensation of tourist guides affected by the pandemic crisis.
On April 20, Morocco’s Minister of Tourism, Nadia Fettah El Alaoui, said that at least 3,202 tourist guides received financial aid from the Special Fund for Management and Response to COVID-19.
Several sectors in tourism, however, continue to suffer severe impacts due to the pandemic, including restaurant and cafe owners.
Morocco’s government maintained the night curfew during Ramadan. The measure prevents cafes and restaurants from opening at night.
Hundreds of Moroccans working in the sector have had activities suspended. The situation urged cafe and restaurant owners and employees to address a letter of petition to King Mohammed VI, calling on him to suspend the night curfew.