The summer of 2022 saw the return of Operation Marhaba or OPE (Operacion Paso del Estrecho), the last edition of which dated back to 2019, i.e. before the health crisis. To attract the greatest number of tourists and MREs, the Moroccan authorities have gone all out with a special system set up in Morocco, but also in France, Spain and Italy to facilitate the entry of members of the diaspora. Moroccan in anticipation of the summer season and Eid Al-Adha among other events.
To this end, an important offer of air and sea transport has been put on the market. The Spanish Interior Ministry reported that more than one million travellers, precisely 1,039,559, passengers crossed the Strait of Gibraltar between June 15 and July 25 as part of Operation Marhaba 2022 during the period from June 15 to July 25 and Tangier received more than half of them, and 60% of them passed through the port of Algeciras. Indeed, the latter recorded the largest MRE flow, with 60% of traffic, followed by Almeria (17%) and Tarifa (12%). In Morocco, the port of Tanger Med received 62% of MREs. According to preliminary data from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, the flow of MREs has increased by 8% compared to the last operation organized in 2019 (937,532 people).
The number of vehicles stood at 225,278, an increase of almost 15% more than the volume recorded for the same period in 2019. 22% of passengers for this same period used Sebta and 13% passed through Melilla, indicates the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. However, it is expected that the greatest flow of passengers should be at the level of departures from Morocco, from the last days of July. It is reported from the other side of the river that a special security system involving the participation of more than 22,000 professionals, of whom almost 16,000 are agents of the State security forces and bodies, this process which will continue until September 15.
As for the return phase within the framework of “Operation Marhaba or OPE”, which concerns in particular the movement of Moroccans from Europe across the Mediterranean, the peak in passenger traffic should be recorded on August 27, 28 and 29. .
But well before that, the next days July 29, 30 and 31 and August 1, 2, 3 and 4 are envisaged, as the periods of greatest influx and traffic of people during the first phase of exit and even entry, in the original project. The plan designed by the Ministry of the Interior includes the measures necessary for the development of the operation to guarantee the fluidity and safety of transport, as well as the prevention and protection of public health, with particular attention to derived health controls of Covid-19. In this Marhaba 2022 or OPE edition, 7,500 m2 of quays, 508,000 m2 of esplanades, car parks and service areas and 40,000 m2 of shade have been developed for the service and reception of passengers heading for Morocco.
Operation Marhaba or Operacion Paso del Estrecho (OPE) was launched on June 5th. Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, had previously confirmed that preliminary figures related to 2022 transit confirm the return of Moroccans residing abroad in increasing numbers, two years after the pandemic. of “Covid-19”.