The Moroccan government is ready for things to return to normal. The health crisis caused by the coronavirus has had serious consequences for the national economy, especially the tourism sector, which has been the hardest hit by the restrictions. The government wants to revive an industry on which much of the country's wealth depends and, as of 17 May, Morocco no longer requires a PCR test to enter the country by air or sea.
This is a new measure that marks a long-awaited return to normality after two years of hecatombs. The government issued a communiqué in which it considers that the COVID-19 situation is at one of its best and no longer affects the lives of its citizens as much.
"The Moroccan government has decided to cancel the condition of the PCR test for entry into Moroccan territory. This decision, with immediate effect, was taken on the basis of the legal provisions relating to the management of the state of health emergency and taking into account the improvement of the epidemiological situation in our country," confirms the communiqué issued by the Prime Minister's Office.
However, although the requirement to present a PCR test to enter Moroccan territory has been removed, the Executive has decided to maintain the restriction on travellers to bring their vaccination passport. Tourists will have to validate the document, and if they do not have it, they will have to take a PCR test to enter the Maghreb nation.
The news has been widely welcomed by the entire population of the country, but particularly by workers in the tourism and hotel sectors, who have received the information with great enthusiasm. These industries are the ones that have suffered the most consequences, both nationally and internationally, and now it is time to revive them after two years of low income.
"We are very happy. It is a decision that should have been taken earlier, but the main thing is that it is done," says Lahcen Zelmat, president of the National Federation of the Hotel Industry (FNIH). In the interview conducted by AFP (Agence Française de News), the director encouraged travellers to take a trip to the Maghreb country and urged Moroccans living abroad to return to the territory and enjoy their summer holidays.
The reactivation of tourism is beginning to be one of the Moroccan government's main focuses, especially now that summer and the holidays are upon us. The epidemiological situation has shown that the country is no longer at risk from a severe wave of the coronavirus, and since February measures have begun to be relaxed. Moreover, Aziz Akhannouch's government has been under pressure from the sector's professionals, who have been asking for a response to improve their economic situation for some time.
In recent months, the country has been developing strategies to promote the sector. This has included the creation of promotional campaigns both within Morocco and internationally, aid to industry workers to alleviate the effects of the crisis, and the easing of measures to enter the Maghreb territory.
Tourism in the region promises to experience remarkable growth, which has been evident in recent months due to the easing of restrictions. The Moroccan Bureau of Foreign Exchange (BXM) notes in its latest figures that between January and March of this year, the country earned 9.7 billion dirhams from tourism. This is a very good figure for the sector, which is up 79.6% compared to last year's figures.
On the same day that the news was announced, the borders of Ceuta and Melilla were also reopened and it is expected that this will also influence the resumption of tourist activity. The Spanish public is one of the main markets for the Moroccan tourism sector, so the lifting of the border crossings may help tourism in the region to return to normal.