The Moroccan government, faced with the situation being experienced by workers in the tourism sector, has announced an emergency plan to alleviate the effects of the negative consequences for this large part of the national economy. The Moroccan Ministry of Tourism plans to set up a project to grant 1 billion dirhams to reactivate the sector's functions.
With this support, the funding will allow for the deferral of expenses to the Moroccan National Social Security Fund - La Caisse Nationale de Securité Sociale (CNSS) - while the state will assume the tax paid by this sector on economic activities and the renewal of benefits previously established before the corresponding payments are made.
The plan aims to establish five measures to revive the country's tourism industry. First, a compensation payment of 2,000 dirhams in the first quarter of 2022 will be provided to all workers and employees working in the tourism sector, whether in hotels, restaurants that live off the holiday season or even those employed in the transport sector.
The second measure adopted is to defer the expenses that go to the CNSS for six months, in order to alleviate the situation of the workers and so that, for a period of six months, they do not have to worry about paying this government department.
Then, thirdly, there will be an extension of up to one year for hoteliers and tourist transporters, which translates into one year without paying any cost to the banks on the taxes imposed on those in the country's labour force. This interest will be paid by the government, which will cover all the costs of the months of non-activity in 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.
The fourth and fifth measure taken to revive the country's tourism is that the State will be in charge of and will assume the business tax costs owed by hoteliers in 2020 and 2021, as well as a State grant that will benefit the entire hospitality sector and will cover all the money allocated to this plan. In addition to covering all the inconveniences that have arisen over the last few years, it will also strengthen and improve all the hotel complexes that wish to prepare to start operating as soon as the Kingdom's borders are reopened. In addition, it will modernise the systems of maintenance, renovation, employee training, among other things, of hotels and hotel sites.
Morocco has had all its borders closed since the first three days after the Omicron variant of the coronavirus became known worldwide. They are tentatively scheduled to reopen on 31 January this year. The blow to tourism in the last quarter of last year has been brutal, as well as coinciding with Christmas and the return home of many Moroccans living abroad.
Many specialists in the field are calling for the reopening of the air and sea routes, since, if they remain closed, it will seriously damage the country's economy and the revival of tourism would not be viable.
The government took this course of action to "preserve the gains made in the fight against the coronavirus" and the preservation of public health has been prioritised. Although attempts have been made to do as little damage as possible to the Moroccan system and economy, experts say that the price to be paid will be very high and that there is still time for a gradual recovery.
From the end of the month, air and sea areas will return to normal, but tourists and travellers wishing to pass through or stay in the Kingdom are reminded that they must meet certain conditions, such as presenting an official vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test carried out 48 hours before entering the country, or even proving that they have recently been infected with the disease. All depending on the country they come from, as recommended by the Moroccan Ministry of Health.