Number of tourists coming to Morocco has declined by 78.5% during 2020 due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, compared to an increase of 5.2% in 2019, the Moroccan Ministry of Economy and Finance announced.
Data from the Directorate of Studies and Forecasts at the Ministry of Economy regarding the preliminary economic indicators for 2020 revealed that the number of foreign tourists coming to Morocco decreased by 92%.
The agency also said that the number tourists coming to Morocco who are Moroccans residing outside the Kingdom by decreased 59%, despite the measures taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector.
The measures to confront the spread of the pandemic, including the closure of borders and the suspension of flights, caused the number of tourists to decline in 2020 to 2.8 million, compared to 13 million tourists in 2019.
The suspension of all international and sea flights to and from Moroccan territory in March of 2020, and the declaration of a state of health emergency in Morocco, led to an almost complete cessation of the tourism activity.
According to data from the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, the tourism sector represents 7% of the Kingdom’s GDP, and more than half a million people work in it, and it is considered a major source of foreign exchange in addition to exports and remittances of workers abroad.
The Moroccan government has announced the extension of suspending flights from and to 39 countries until next May 21 and the state of health emergency to contain the spread of mutated strains of the Coronavirus in the country.
Meanwhile, tourism sector circles called for freezing the payment of debts accumulated on investors in the sector, whose businesses were affected by the pandemic.
Investors in the tourism sector hope to be exempted from the benefits of deferred debts since the sector is the most affected by the measures imposed to confront the pandemic.
The Federal National for Tourism Transportation had called on the Moroccan government to intervene urgently to find a solution with the banking sector to postpone the collection of debts, in implementation of an agreement to revive the tourism sector.
However, banks emphasized the necessity of collecting what the companies owed to them, and directed companies that defaulted on payment to submit a request to postpone payment, which would entail additional benefits and burdens.
The banks noted that if companies refused this was refused, the banks would resort to suing the companies in debt.
The tourism investors considered this to be contrary to the directions of the Economic Vigilance Committee, which was established in order to mitigate the repercussions of the pandemic on the sector.