Morocco to resume international passenger traffic, boosts tourism hopes

Air traffic in all Moroccan airports recorded during Q1 20121 a 70.16% drop compared to 2020 and a 73.9 % decline.
Monday 07/06/2021
A file picture shows travellers at the boarding control area at Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco. (AFP)
A file picture shows travellers at the boarding control area at Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco. (AFP)

RABAT – Morocco will reopen its airports and ports to international passenger traffic from June 15, both for its own citizens and foreign nationals, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

All travellers will be admitted into the country if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had a negative PCR test, the ministry said in a statement

The reopening, it is hoped, will revive the struggling tourism sector.

Nationals of countries where the coronavirus is surging or those lacking reliable data will have to provide a special permit to enter Morocco and have a negative test, it said.

Morocco last month eased a set of restrictive measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, allowing cinemas and theatres to re-open as it continues its vaccination campaign.

The North African country has so far outperformed others on the continent by administering five million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines, as it pursues plans to inoculate all people aged over 17.

The biggest concern for Morocco is the highly-contagious variant first detected in India, which has brought that country to its knees and found a growing foothold in some European states.

In early May, Morocco  detected its first two cases of the Indian variant of the coronavirus whose contacts have been isolated to avoid contagion, the health ministry said.

The variant, B.1.617, has reached at least 17 countries, from Britain and Iran to Switzerland, sparking global concern and spurring several to close their borders to people travelling from India.

Morocco’s minister of tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui told parliament last month the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector was severe.

She pointed to the drop of arrivals to 430,000 tourists in the first quarter of 2021, down 78% from the year before and plummeting revenue to 5.3 billion dirhams ($530 million) in Q1 2021, a 69 percent drop from the previous year.

Air traffic in all Moroccan airports recorded during Q1 20121 a 70.16% drop compared to 2020 and a 73.9 % decline.