Rabat – Morocco’s National Tourism Office (ONMT) welcomed on Wednesday British tourists in a video message to tourism operators in the UK.
In the message, ONMT’s Director Adil El Fakir also announced that Marrakech will host the Association of British Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (ABTA) Congress in 2021.
The congress was initially set to take place in 2020, but required postponement due to the pandemic.
“In October 2021, Morocco and Marrakech will be there, stronger and more united than ever to welcome you back,” said the official speaking to British tourism operators and, by extension, tourists.
El Fakir said that British tourists were the Moroccan tourism industry’s second-largest value market in 2019, with 2.2 million overnight stays.
The COVID-19 crisis brought to mind the “deep” connection between tourism and other economic sectors, he added, “but also how resilient tourism is.”
In a comparison between Morocco’s COVID-19 situation with that of other countries over the last seven days, ONMT’s director noted that Morocco recorded over 43,000 cases, while France recorded 123,000, followed by Spain (108,000) and the US (89,000). The UK confirmed 64,000 new cases, approximately 50% more than Morocco.
Morocco closed its borders in mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19. The country’s tourism industry, which accounts for approximately 11% of Morocco’s GDP, took a particularly hard hit.
As part of its gradual easing of restrictive measures and efforts to revive the national economy, the country opened borders in September for tourists with hotel reservations in Morocco.
El Fakir said that Morocco has put in place “robust protocols” in all tourist facilities, including airports, hotels, restaurants, and public spaces, to ensure the safety of visitors.
Marrakech opened its famous Majorelle Garden as well as the Berber Museum on October 1, after more than seven months of closure due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
Last week, World Travel Awards listed Morocco’s ochre city among its nominees for the World’s Leading City Destination of 2020, along with Dubai, New York, Las Vegas, London, Moscow, Paris, and Sydney.