Issued on:

Morocco has prolonged a ban on worldwide passenger flights until finally the stop of January to combat the distribute of the Omicron variant. The closure specials a severe blow to its very important tourism economic climate, with individuals operating in the sector warning Morocco is likely bankrupt.

The National Business office of Airports (ONDA) declared on Friday that all passenger flights to and from Morocco would be suspended right until 31 January 2021.

Royal Air Maroc – the community airline – said that its scheduled exceptional flights in between 24 December and 31 December 2021 would still operate.

The govt imposed the measure to operate in the beginning from late November until eventually 31 December, while a mechanism had been in place for Moroccan citizens abroad to appear house.

Now the only passenger movements permitted are one particular-off repatriation flights for international citizens in the kingdom, authorised on a circumstance-by-situation basis by Rabat.

The authorities has also banned all New Year’s Eve celebrations and reimposed a night-time curfew

Festivals and cultural gatherings have been banned given that the beginning of December.

An elderly Moroccan receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the metropolis of Sale. © AFP/Fadel Senna

A bankrupt tourism sector

The limitations have strike Morocco’s financial state, which relies closely on tourism. The sector is presently on its knees after two dropped seasons because of the pandemic.

One industry formal quoted by the Medias24 news web-site stated the business confronted losses of at the very least 88 million euros between Xmas and the New Year.

The country welcomed some two million travellers more than summer 2021, compared to just 165,000 the past summertime, in accordance to the financial state ministry.

But hopes of an upturn ended up dashed by an additional spike in instances in Europe, adopted by news of the Omicron variant which the WHO believes could be much more transmissible and resistant to vaccines.

And as their place joins other states all over the world battling however a further wave of bacterial infections, Moroccan hoteliers have lost the tiny hope they had.

“We had been quite optimistic with the arrival of the New Calendar year, but these decisions took us by surprise,” stated Khalid Moubarak, secretary standard of the National Federation of Travel Businesses of Morocco.

“We were being on the edge of bankruptcy.