Coronavirus “Strikes a Heavy Blow at Moroccan Tourism, and the Number of Tourists Traveling to the Kingdom is Declining in an Unprecedented Way”

The Department of Treasury and External Finance (DTFE) under the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform reported that the number of tourists arriving in Morocco had decreased by 78.5 percent at the end of 2020. This comes after an increase of 5.2 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of overnight stays decreased by 72.4 percent after having increased by 5.1 percent in 2019.

In its report on the economic situation that includes the early results for the year 2020, the Directorate explained that despite the measures taken to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the sector, the number of tourists arriving through various border crossings decreased by 79.8 percent during the period of the fourth quarter of 2020.  As a result, the number of foreign tourists decreased by 92 percent and Moroccans living abroad by 59 percent.

Similarly, the number of overnight stays in classified hotels decreased by 82.6%, resulting in a 94% decrease for non-residents and a 52.3% decrease for residents.

The report states that “after maintaining a good momentum over the past three years, the tourism sector has been severely affected by the health crisis and by the restrictive measures put in place by the authorities in order to contain the epidemic of Covid-19”.

It further points out that the suspension of all international and maritime travel to and from the Moroccan soil as of March 15, as well as the declaration of a state of health emergency in the Kingdom, has led to an almost total suspension of tourism activity.

It should be noted that the Moroccan authorities have announced various measures to facilitate access to the national territory, especially as of September 7. Thus, citizens of countries not subject to visa requirements are allowed to travel to Morocco, provided they present a document proving a hotel reservation or an invitation from a Moroccan company, in addition to a negative Covid-19 test.

A new measure which eases the restrictions imposed on travelers to Morocco as of October 1 has also been announced. This concerns the extension of the period for negative Covid-19 tests (PCR) to 72 hours before the flight instead of 48 hours with the cancellation of the serological test.

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