Tourism: Recovery more promising than expected?

The figures published at the start of this year point to a strong recovery by next summer. The promotional campaign launched by the ONMT is already promising. The tourism sector closed the year 2021 with a positive evolution of its main indicators, overnight stays and arrivals, despite the closure of national borders from the last month of this year. The outlook seems more favorable for the year 2022, following the improvement of the epidemiological situation in Morocco and the implementation of various programs and measures, including those relating to the reopening of national borders and the emergency program granted by the government for the support of the sector in the amount of 2 billion dirhams. The flow of arrivals increased by 34% at the end of 2021, for a total of more than 3.7 million tourists, notes the DEPF in its latest economic report published on March 22. This development resulted from the 77.9% increase in arrivals of MREs, against a drop in those of foreign tourists of 8.8%, after a decline of 76.7% and 80% respectively a year earlier. Moreover, despite the sharp drop recorded by tourist receipts in January 2022 (-58.6%), due to the closure of national borders throughout this month, the evolution of activity in the sector has more favorable announcement for the year 2022 since the reopening of the national borders on February 7. Indeed, the number of passengers received at national airports during the period from February 7 to 28 is around 660,045 passengers, 50% of whom are international travellers. It should be noted that international passenger traffic by air recovered 72% of its level during the same period of 2019. In this regard, the ONMT announced a strong recovery in tourist arrivals for next summer thanks to the programming several services from source markets in Europe, America and the Middle East with the expected arrival of Israeli tourists. Speaking precisely of this market, a forum, the “Morocco Israel Tourism Investment Summit” was organized last Tuesday to promote tourism investment among the Israeli community. Israeli investors expressed, on this occasion, their appreciation of the tourist investment offer presented at this conference, thus expressing their interest in contributing to the development of the tourist offer in Morocco. That said, in terms of the return of air activity, the latest operator to have announced its return to Morocco is Air France. The company even promises a strong comeback to the Morocco destination, in particular Agadir and Tangier, by ratifying a record partnership contract for the Summer 22 season. The company will thus set up an offer of more than 500,000 seats to Morocco on departure. of France, i.e. an increase of 7% compared to the summer of 2019 (pre-Covid reference year). Shortly before, the airline Ryanair announced its largest summer schedule to Morocco, with 135 destinations and more than 370 weekly flights from 11 countries, including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy , Portugal and the United Kingdom. The Irish carrier points out that with 37 new routes, this increased connectivity will bring in large numbers of tourists from all major European markets. Ryanair's 2022 summer schedule for Morocco will feature a $1 billion investment, 135 routes in total, including 37 new destinations and over 370 weekly flights. This year should also see the first results of a recent international tour of the ONMT. Among other results of these trips, considerable commitments, on the part of the various TOs and players in the field, in terms of customer objectives, headquarters and joint communication campaigns in 6 markets (Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, -Netherlands and United Kingdom). There is also talk of air capacity development plans to be put in place to double the current objectives by 2023-2024, i.e. capacities of more than 200,000 tourists. On the Spanish market, a strengthening of the strategic partnership between the ONMT and Iberia from the Summer 2022 season is planned. This plans to ensure the promotion of Morocco throughout the Iberia network of more than 100 European and South American destinations, which should lead to a strong increase in connections to the cities of Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier. Overall, by deploying a targeted communication strategy, in particular through digital channels, the office is giving itself the means to rekindle the enthusiasm around the Morocco offer and to strengthen its attractiveness, as an accessible, safe and exotic destination. , offering an unparalleled diversity of experiences.