Morocco to alleviate financial burden on Covid-hit tourism industry

Morocco to alleviate financial burden on Covid-hit tourism industry

The Moroccan parliament is examining a draft law submitted by the government to protect tourism companies from becoming insolvent.

The law 30.20 would enable businesses operating in the tourism sector including hotels, travel agencies and airlines to exchange bookings canceled over the coronavirus outbreak with a similar offer for a similar price.

Speaking to MPs, Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui said the law will help alleviate the financial burden on the travel industry through protecting their treasury.

The ministry worked together with the private sector to draft this law, which will “avert the bankruptcy of tourism enterprises and maintain jobs,” she said.

She said clients who reject a replacement of their bookings could wait for 15 months to be refunded in cash. The law covers bookings from March to September.

The coronavirus outbreak has brought tourism worldwide to a halt. Morocco, a leading tourist destination in Africa, received 13 million tourists last year.

Prospects for restarting the sector are dim however due to the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and lack of a vaccine that may restore normal activity.

“Tourism will be the last to recover” from the coronavirus impact, she said.

To alleviate the suffering of the sector, the ministry puts emphasis on encouraging local travelers to book in hotels.

“Once health emergency is lifted, we will work on solutions that will help us reopen the sector through local tourism,” she said.

“Morocco has acquired an international reputation and we are planning to build on it in order to encourage the return of foreign tourists,” she said.

Hence the importance of the draft bill, currently examined by MPs. It will offer tourists another chance to visit Morocco instead of canceling their bookings and retracting funds.

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