Moroccan hoteliers are losing patience. With the approach of the end of the year holidays, professionals in the sector heavily affected by the closing of borders, fear a tightening of health measures, while Moroccans are less and less inclined to the celebrations.
The rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, especially in Europe and Africa, has prompted the Kingdom to anticipate a new wave by closing its borders. A decision that puts a blow to tourism already in bad shape since the appearance of the Covid-19, while the authorities justify these drastic measures by necessity “To preserve the achievements of Morocco in the fight against the pandemic”.
While some were impatient with the approach of the end of the year celebrations in order to breathe new life into their activity, the suspension of flights has come to throw a chill, shattering the ambitions of a recovery, and this is not not the hoteliers who will say the opposite.
Even more, the possibility of a night curfew, accompanied by a ban on inter-city travel during the end-of-year celebrations, especially for New Years Eve, does not help the business of hotel brand owners who say they are overwhelmed by events.
Indeed, during the past year, the authorities have banned hotels from all activities and receptions, with a ban on all musical activity throughout the day, in order to avoid a possible new wave of the spread of the coronavirus, which could further complicate the current situation.
The number of tourists to the Kingdom did not exceed 2.8 million in 2020, which represents a decrease of at least 78.5% compared to 2019.
Contacted by MoroccoLatestNews FR, Lahcen Zelmat, President of the National Federation of the Hotel Industry, expressed his concern, regretting the silence of the government regarding the situation as the holidays approach.
“We are awaiting a decision from the Minister of the Interior. If there is a ban on festivities and there is a curfew, we cannot take the risk of investing in entertainment ”, did he declare.
Lack of visibility and closing of signs
Lahcen Zelmat believes that hoteliers are blocked by the lack of visibility and therefore cannot engage with service providers to organize the festivities.
“We’re still in the dark, so it would be difficult to sign contracts with artists and do animation if we don’t have permission. In order for us to be able to prepare, we need visibility ”, he notes, expressing his pessimism about a possible authorization.
“If we have an answer two days before, it will be impossible for us to organize. We are prepared for the worst scenarios ”, says Zelmat, confirming the closure of several hotel brands following the suspension of flights and the reluctance of Moroccans to travel for fear of new restrictions.
“With the closing of the borders, many hotels are forced to close for lack of customers, while others suffer from numerous cancellations, not only from foreigners due to the suspension of flights, but also from Moroccans who fear a tightening of health measures, and therefore a blockage”, He emphasizes.
“Even if in the best scenario we have an authorization, there will surely be measures to be respected, and therefore reduce the number from 50 to 10, in all cases we are the losers”, concludes our source.
For now, the state of health emergency has been extended until December 31, while nightlife (in addition to discos) has resumed since the lifting of the curfew in early November.