Morocco tourism soared to record high of $8Bn in 2019

Morocco’s tourism receipts soared to a record high in 2019 but will fall to a record low in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Morocco tourism travel receipts soared to a record high of $8.12bn in 2019, up from $7.5bn the previous year. A country that is heavily dependent on the tourist industry to bolster local GDP. But, inevitably in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, even if Morroco opens their borders in July this year, their travel receipts won’t even come close to 2019 this year. 

The annual report on Morocco’s balance of payments and international investment position also shows the travel receipts based on global travel from countries. 

The report shows France is the major contributor to the airline industry (from France) with the majority of Morrocco’s travel receipts, totalling for MAD 27.7 billion. Spain came in second issuing MAD 6.68 billion, followed by the UK with 6.31 billion.

Most foreign spending in Morrocco in 2019 was in tourism, accounting for a massive 55% – leaving people wondering when will Morroco open back up for tourism?  Tuition made up 25.4% and religious travel 9%. 

Airline travel receipts

Service receipts were dominated by the air travel receipts representing 42% of expenses and were followed by transport receipts which made up 19% of the total expenses. 

The report highlights that expenditures also increased significantly, rising from MAD 18.6 billion to MAD 20.0 billion. 

Morocco tourism travel receipts soared to a record high of $8.12bn in 2019
In the centre of Marrakech last month the streets were still very quiet, not a person in sight. With the easing of the Lockdown local tourism has slowly picked up. Moroccos Tourism 2020

Due to the pandemic, Morrocco has been forced to impose restrictions on international travel, severely crippling Morocco tourism. It is not yet known when they’ll open their borders and welcome back tourists. 

Tourism has fallen by 45% when compared to 2019 while overnight stays have dropped by approximately 43%.  Tourism receipts which contribute a significant portion of the total travel receipts have dropped by 15% since the pandemic started.  Data shows that between January and April, travel receipts fell from MAD 23 billion to MAD 20 billion, a total loss of 13%. 

The closure of Morrocco’s borders is bad news for the country’s tourism sector which like many countries in Africa is kept afloat by international travel and tourism. However, since the lifting of some restrictions in June, domestic tourism has seen a revival, with Moroccans keen to get out and enjoy the summer months after four months of lockdown.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have also pledged to support the recovery of Morroco tourism sector with financial support, how effective that will remain to be seen, but Cities like Marrakesh and Agadir thrive on tourism and last month the images from the cities were like a ghost town. 

The 24th Session of the UN General Assembly will be held in the city of Marrakesh in 2021, with the exact dates to be confirmed.

UNWTO General-Secretary Zurab Pololikashvili said: “I offer my warmest congratulations to Morocco. They are a long-standing ally of UNWTO and at this General Assembly, they clearly demonstrated how the Kingdom has embraced tourism as a driver of positive change over the past few decades. Morocco also showed it has the infrastructure and the commitment necessary to host the most important high-level event for the global tourism sector. At the same time, I thank both Kenya and the Philippines for their candidatures. Both presented exceptionally strong cases.”

Morocco joined UNWTO as a partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017.

Air Arabia Maroc has launched its special international flight’s program in line with Morocco’s decision to reopen borders for Moroccans, foreign residents, and their families starting July 15. This includes 23 destinations and will expand to other countries late in July when Morocco plans to roll out its second phase of Morocco tourism for international tourists.



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