Tourism: the closure of the borders got the better of Tangier

“This is unheard of. We ended up with zero customers for one night at the end of the year ”. This testimony is that of a hotel operator from Tangier. Operating in an establishment belonging to a large 5-star chain established in several cities in Morocco, he observed “zero” reservations during some of the last days of the year 2021. The situation is such, specifies our source, that the management of the hotel chain traveled from Casablanca to see what was wrong. “In fact, this situation has been noted since the start of the pandemic. There are hardly any tourists left in Tangier. We used to have many bookings for furnished apartments or studios, but here it is absolutely quiet, nothing at all, ”confirms a real estate operator. The capital of the North and its region are, of course, popular seaside destinations during the summer season, but with the end of year holidays, many MRE, but also European tourists came to rest there. “This year, we haven't seen any of that,” laments a professional active in real estate. Among hoteliers, it is the upscale that has been affected the most, especially the 4 and 5 stars. The shock And yet, the sunny weather was there during the last days of 2021. However, the closure of restaurants at midnight and the ban on all festive activities in the hotels of the city, not to mention the night curfew of the New year, have skewed the calculations of restaurateurs. At the level of the fishing port of Tangier, where families are used to converging during the day, the atmosphere was there as usual. Ditto at the marina and on the corniche, must-see destinations for visitors to the city. However, on site, it is only during the day and early evening that restaurant owners were able to take advantage of this relatively influx of visitors. Which, for regional tourism professionals, is a real shock, after 2021 which gave rise to some hope of recovery, but ultimately resulted in many restrictions. Disarray At the level of the Regional Tourism Council (CRT) of Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, we are struggling to recover from this slump, despite the various tourist attractiveness operations organized in recent months. In view of the resumption of the Covid, some local professionals in the sector remain pessimistic for the year which has just started. A feeling shared by the Regional Association of the Hotel Industry, or the Regional Association of Travel Agencies, not to mention tourist guides. Maritime rotations In any case, it should be remembered, in Tangier, the closing of the borders takes another turn, knowing that it also concerns maritime rotations. This has a considerable impact on port activity both in terms of passenger traffic in Tanger Med and in other ports, in particular Tanger Ville. These gateways to the Kingdom were already suffering from the stoppage of maritime links with Spain. At Tangier Marina, too, arrivals of boaters are still prohibited, thereby delaying any real resumption of the tourist sector in the city. In view of the considerable ripple effect for the region of the maritime sector on other activities, the entire economy of the cities of the North is taking a serious hit. Abdellah Benahmed / (with Les Inspirations ÉCO)