the unknown fate of the summer season

A few weeks before the start of the summer season, doubt still hangs over the fate of the tourism sector, held hostage by the state of health emergency and the closure of international borders. Even if travel restrictions are no longer applied as harshly as before, internal tourist flows are […]

A few weeks before the start of the summer season, doubt still hangs over the fate of the tourism sector, held hostage by the state of health emergency and the closure of international borders. Even if travel restrictions are no longer applied as harshly as before, internal tourist flows are far from resuming despite the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism; It relies on domestic tourism to save the sector from an announced bankruptcy in the event of a disappointing summer season, knowing that the number of foreign tourists has fallen by 78% according to figures presented by the Minister of Solidarity and Social development Jamila Moussali, speaking on behalf of Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui, in the House of Representatives, during the oral questioning session.

In this context, the fate of tourism operators and professionals in the sector remains uncertain, notwithstanding the government’s modest efforts to compensate employees of tourist establishments. Craftsmen, hoteliers, tourist transporters and restaurateurs, all lack visibility of their fate. Asked about this subject, Jamila Moussali contented himself with listing the measures already taken by the Executive within the framework of the program contract for the revival of tourism which provided fixed allowances to employees of the sector, whose number of beneficiaries is close to 79,000. people.

At a time when the department of Nadia Fettah Alaoui is trying, in collaboration with the National Tourist Office, to convince Moroccans to spend their holidays in their country, the minister has also announced some new measures to support internal tourism such as the rehabilitation hotel establishments in several regions and the implementation of holiday vouchers, the implementation of which will soon be recorded by decree. Measures that are necessary for lack of visibility on the opening of international borders, knowing that air traffic will not return to its level prior to the covid-19 crisis until 2024, according to Jamila Moussali.

These efforts remain insufficient in the eyes of MEPs, who consider that the tourism sector is too informal to withstand the ravages of the current crisis. This was recognized by Minister Moussali, promising a vast plan to regularize professionals such as artisans and tourist guides in the social security system. Several MPs, including the Istiqlalien Tarik Kadiri, denounced the lack of a clear government strategy to welcome foreign tourists as European countries prepare to reopen their borders. Even the conduct of Operation Marhaba is still uncertain. They also underlined the persistence of travel restrictions which terribly hamper the activities of the most vulnerable categories of tourism professionals. Mr. Kadiri also criticized the government’s tendency to impose restrictive measures arbitrarily.

Janelle B. Smith

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