COVID-19 denies Morocco’s tourism sector revenues worth US$1.2 billion

MOROCCOMorocco’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) due to challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a new report, Morocco’s Department of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF) revealed that the US$1.21 billion loss in revenues was occasioned by a 71% drop in tourism revenues in the first half the year.

The report further revealed that 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, a 97% drop in occupancy when compared to the same period last year, the DEPF report said.

The study further revealed that Morocco risks losing 10.5 million tourists and over 10.8 million overnight stays in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The report however projected that the Morocco’s tourism sector will experience a more favorable development, although modest in the coming months.

DEPF attributed these modest improvements to the revival of the local tourist market.

Morocco’s state media said reported that as a result of the pandemic 50% of all tourism jobs were lost while the country’s foreign exchange from tourism dropped by 60%.

To salve the country’s tourism sector, Morocco signed a project contract in August, 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.

Each year millions of tourists arrive in Morocco for business, leisure, or to visit family in every season raking in billions of dollars in revenues and sustaining the tourism industry which contributes about 11% to the country’s GDP.

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 still remained colsed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 hotspots.

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