Morocco will reopen its airspace on Monday after more than two months of closure in an attempt to salvage the tourist season, a vital sector of its economy that has been battered by the health crisis.
Tour operators and overseas Moroccan nationals, some of whom have been stranded for weeks by an outbreak of the Omicron variant in Morocco, have been relieved by the resumption of air links.
This reopening – somewhat overshadowed by the tragic death of little Rayan who fell into a well in the north of the country – was accompanied by strict restrictions on access to Moroccan territory, but less severe than before the borders were closed on Nov. 29.
All travelers must be vaccinated, according to a government statement.
In addition to the vaccination pass, he must present a negative PCR test less than 48 hours old upon boarding.
Upon arrival in Morocco, he will undergo a rapid antigen test and a “random” PCR test on a group of passengers.
Finally, for tourists, the authorities offer “the possibility of additional testing in hotels or residence centers 48 hours after their entry into the territory,” specifying the press release.
Passengers who test positive will be asked to self-isolate at their place of residence.
To revive tourism, the government plans to form partnerships with international travel agencies and airlines.
An international advertising campaign is also planned to promote “Destinations of Morocco”, which will begin once foreign tourists return.
With an unprecedented 71% drop in tourist arrivals in 2021 compared to 2019, Morocco’s tourism industry has been hit very hard. For two years, the loss amounted to 20 million tourists and 90 billion dirhams (over 8 billion euros) in revenue in foreign currencies.
The government has launched a 2 billion dirham (nearly 190 million euro) contingency plan to preserve jobs and enable tourism businesses to cope with financial constraints caused by disruptions to activities. Players in the industry see the plan as too timid.