Morocco struggles to get tourism sector back to normalcy post-COVID

As the world has suffered a skyrocketing surge in COVID-19 cases. Due to which most of the nations have reportedly enforced restrictions to curb the outbreak. Currently, most of the nations are on the verge of removing restrictions.

Not only this, but global pandemic has also led many nations to suffer economic crisis.

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Morocco is also the country that reopened its tourism sector but still struggling hard to get normal with its financial crisis.

According to the local hotel owner, ‘Halima Bousekkaoui’, “We are all ready for tourists to stay at our guesthouse- but no one is coming.”

Her Marrakesh business is one of many impacted by the shutdown in travel caused by the pandemic.

As per the data, in 2019, Morocco welcomed 13 million tourists and in 2021, that went down by 4 million.

At the end of 2021, the situation worsened when the government of Morocco restricted all international flights in order to stop the spread of the omicron variant.

This guesthouse has the capacity to give rooms to 17 guests but has been operating at just 20 per cent capacity since the virus hit.

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When flights were revoked, even those customers were lost.

Bousekkaou gave employment to the six members, but after the pandemic, there was only a manager and a housekeeper on her staff.

Morocco’s air borders reopened on 7 February, but it will be a long road to recovery for this guesthouse.

“We have declined a lot due to increasing debts. We are no longer able to pay the salaries of employees. We are saving a lot to reduce the build-up of debts. Unfortunately, debts rise every time,” she says.

Prior to the pandemic, Morocco’s tourism industry directly supported approximately 500,000 jobs and contributed $8 billion to the Moroccan economy.

It is one of the most prominent hotels in Morocco, which has around 1,800 beds. In 2019, they had about 1100 guests. which fell by 85 per cent, then they closed their hotel.