Tourism is one of the sectors that has suffered the heaviest losses since the spread of the coronavirus in early 2020. The sector is trying somehow to recover from the darkest year in its history.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit both developed and developing economies. It is the most vulnerable groups that have been hit the hardest of all, namely the tourism sector which is experiencing the most serious crisis.
The spread of Covid-19 caused heavy losses to Moroccan tourism in 2020. Indeed, the number of inbound tourists has decreased considerably, and its negative repercussions on the sector have continued this year, but with less intensity.
The number of tourists to Morocco did not exceed 2.8 million in 2020, which represents a decrease of minus 78.5% compared to 2019.
The tourism sector has started to recover this year, with the recorded deficit in the number of tourists in 2020 falling from minus 78.5% to minus 11%, according to data provided by the Minister of Tourism, Handicrafts and the Social and Solidarity Economy.
Tourism in Morocco faces severe restrictions since the spread of the coronavirus. With the recent flight suspensions, tourism experts said Marrakech and its region suffered the most from the suspensions.
Marrakech, Essaouira and El Haouz were counting on the return of tourists for an economic recovery in the region, but the tourism industry in Morocco is still struggling to bounce back due to the constant suspension of international flights.
The Marrakech-Essaouira-El Haouz region lost around 11,700 tourist arrivals from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands from October 20 to 24.
According to data presented during the presentation of the ministry’s draft budget to members of the Social Sectors Commission in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the rate of decline in incoming tourists recorded in Morocco is close to the rates recorded in other countries. like Spain, where the number of tourists fell last year by minus 70.9%, Tunisia, minus 78.7%, and Turkey, with less than 69%.
Tourism is catching its breath
The number of tourists at Moroccan border posts during the period between January and August of this year reached 2.5 million, which is an increase of 16% compared to the same period in 2020.
The number of overnight stays in classified tourist accommodation establishments reached 5.6 million overnight stays; the occupancy rate was 24%, and tourism receipts amounted to 20.3 billion dirhams, registering a decrease of 18%.
As a result of the pandemic crisis, the volume of investment in the tourism sector also experienced a 60% drop compared to the investment rate of the pre-pandemic years.
Regarding its impact on tourism, the pandemic has significantly affected the traditional industry in Morocco, especially in 2020, due to the closure of marketing spaces, the decrease or cancellation of orders, the cancellation of exhibitions and events, and the absence of tourists.
The negative impact of the pandemic on the handicrafts sector reached its peak during the months of April and May of the year 2020, with exports declining by minus 83% and minus 65%, respectively, compared to 2019.
The sector has started to recover in the current year, with exports showing an improvement in the first eight months, peaking in April of 327%.
The Moroccan authorities have adopted several measures to revive the sector, which seems on the right track to come back to life.