Coronavirus costs Morocco $2 bln in tourism revenue

Coronavirus costs Morocco $2 bln in tourism revenue

The losses of the tourism sector since the outbreak of the coronavirus last March rose to 18.3 billion dirhams ($2 bln) down 90.1% compared to last year, the national tourism observatory reported.

The figure reflects the hard blow ensued by the tourism sector which represents 7% of Morocco’s GDP and employs directly more than 500,000 people.

Whole cities such as Marrakech or Chaouen are suffocating with many businesses either bankrupt or struggling to cope with the lack of customers as Morocco maintains its borders close to international passenger traffic save some exceptional flights to key destinations.

The government has allowed tourists to enter Morocco from the exceptional routes provided they have a hotel reservation and has extended stipends to workers in tourism business if they maintained 80% of staff.

Tourist arrivals and nights in Moroccan hotels dropped 63.5% and 59.1% respectively, although in some cities such as Agadir domestic tourism offered a lifeline for struggling hotels.

Up to September 14, passenger air traffic in Morocco contracted 78% reflecting a climate of uncertainty due to the pandemic.

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