For several years now, many Moroccans have been opting for holidays abroad, particularly in Spain, arguing that with the same budget, or even less, they are entitled to a better quality of service, compared to the “overpriced” national offer proposed by hotels, inns or guest houses.
In terms of figures, billions of dirhams are transferred abroad every year by Moroccans who go there for holidays or other purposes, and Morocco does not benefit from this, because in the eyes of users, many of whom have published their testimonies on social networks, the national tourism offer is “mediocre” and the quality of services leaves something to be desired.
But with the health crisis linked to Covid-19 and the closure of borders, tourism professionals, especially hotels and inns, will have no choice but to revise their rates downwards in order to encourage national tourism and attract Moroccans to their structures, which they had boycotted for a large part and for years already.
According to Zoubir Bouhout, Director of the Provincial Council of Tourism in Ouarzazate, the drop in prices at the level of hotel establishments and inns “is no longer a choice but a necessity”.
It is a necessity for two reasons, he continues, the most important of which is that it will allow the tourism sector to survive and recover, after the loss of nearly 64 billion, during the period of health crisis which has already lasted 3 months.
“There, the borders of Morocco and even at the international level are closed. In addition, each country is trying to keep its citizens. Now there has to be a considerable effort on the part of professionals in the sector and promoters in favour of the Moroccan consumer. That is to say, that there is a consequent fall in prices, in addition to the health safety measures that must be taken beforehand, so that each Moroccan citizen who wishes to travel, does so in complete peace and in the knowledge that the establishment where he or she is going to stay complies with health standards”, explains this professional of the sector.
And to let it be known that there is a sanitary reference system for the tourism sector which is being prepared.
Still on the question of lowering prices, Bouhout believes that there is unanimity at the national level on this point. “There’s a middle class that goes abroad every summer or even in the middle of the year to spend their holidays. In 2019, Moroccans spent some 20 billion dirhams. Over 10 years, that’s 125 billion. The figure has not stopped increasing from 2010 to 2019,” he explains.
On the other hand, says the Director of the CPT in Ouarzazate, “if this money were invested in Morocco, the sector would be doing rather well”.
“Already, he argues, Morocco’s balance of payments is currently impacted, the export balance has fallen, and phosphate exports are dependent on the recovery. Imports are going to increase, which will meet a need for foreign currency, and we need wheat because of the drought, and that costs money”.
This tourism professional believes that promoters and accommodation professionals must make a gesture “if only towards the local economy, by giving it a boost, save jobs and then participate in the rebalancing of the balance of payments which is in danger of collapsing”.
Asked about a probable date for the reopening of hotels and inns and a resumption of activity with the arrival of summer, our interlocutor assures us that there is still no visibility.
“The establishments and professionals in the sector are preparing themselves and are also preparing offers. But everything depends on the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom. The final decision to take over lies with the Ministries of Health and the Interior. It is true that the National Tourist Office has made capsules on the national channels “3la mantlakaw” which show some very beautiful spots in Morocco, but if after the deconfinement, there is no transport between cities, what is the point of getting ready”, he says.