Since the royal decision to provide Moroccans living abroad with exceptional discounts to allow them to return to Morocco after a difficult year of covid-19 at all levels, the enthusiasm for their return is complete, they are seen as the saviors of summer 2021. But are they really good tourists?
The surprise announcement of the fall in the prices of plane and boat tickets from June 15 to September 15 for Moroccans living abroad, in addition to price reductions for hotel nights, of up to 30% has looks like a bomb.
It only took a few hours for the Moroccans to storm travel agencies in several countries of the European Union. Between the announcement of the decision and the following day, already more than 120,000 flight reservations to Morocco have been registered via Royal Air Maroc.
The queues in front of the agencies to book their flights via the national airline Royal Air Maroc were impressive and rekindled a feeling of patriotism among all Moroccans.
And while economists and specialists have indicated that this decision to relaunch tourism in Morocco was highly strategic, some have however qualified their forecasts as to the final gain for the country in terms of foreign exchange inflows.
Because if it is true that the MRE spend money on returning to the country during the three months of the summer, they do not spend as much as one might think and probably not as much as the Moroccans who are long-term residents. which carry the tourism sector throughout the year and doubly during the summer.
In terms of the tourism sector as a whole, according to economist Driss Effina, Morocco could regain a level of up to 70% or 80% of the situation before covid. Morocco expects a lot from its 5 million MRE to save its tourist season. Three million of them return to Morocco every year for the summer holidays and represent almost 50% of the clients of the tourism industry in the country, according to experts.
But these 3 million MRE do not all go to hotels, most prefer accommodation with large families, parents or siblings throughout their stay. In addition, faced with the high price of hotel nights in Morocco, many Moroccans have been seduced by the offers of budget accommodation or seaside residences that flourish in all coastal cities. Housing that they also rent the rest of the year.
As for the consumption of local products and participation in the national economy, here too, the MRE are not major consumers unlike foreign tourists for example. If they buy souvenirs, vegetables and fruits, and make themselves cafes and restaurants, for most of the basic items, they bring them back in their luggage.
This is the case for jams, coffee, cookies, preserves, hygiene products such as shampoos and shower gels and other non-perishable products which are often less expensive in their adopted country and whose families here in Morocco are crazy because they cost more.
However, Morocco will win in terms of logistics related to the tourism sector such as taxis, trains, coaches, swimming pools, cafes and restaurants, etc., as noted by economist Omar Kettani and this will also help to bail out foreign currency reserves which have fallen in Morocco from 7 to 4 months. “This arrival of the MRE will make it possible to renew these reserves”, he noted.
In the end, it is already a mixed record for the tourist season in Morocco for this summer 2021. The Kingdom will certainly save its tourist season and benefit from seeing its nationals choose to return to the country rather than go elsewhere. for their holidays, but the price cuts that have been reserved for them for plane and boat tickets will still cost the state 4.5 billion DH, and the question of how the state will make up for these losses remains unanswered.