The mood in the regional tourism sector has shifted in the past month, Nadia Fettah Alaoui, minister of tourism for Morocco, has told delegates at the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum.
Alaoui explained: “Tourism continues to be one of the major sectors suffering from the Covid-19 crisis; a year ago we were hoping this situation would last three months, but it has now been a year.
“Visibility remains the challenge – we cannot predict what will happen next.
“But we are optimistic, we have a strong vaccination programme here in Morocco and the global indicators are encouraging around the pandemic.
“We are still in the crisis, but we hope to get back to normal life in the near future.”
In Morocco, movement remains restricted between cities, while a 20:00 curfew remains in place in urban areas – it remains “a conservative moment,” Alaoui added.
“The government is preparing for the reopening,” the minister continued.
“We have launched a digital campaign to promote the country, we are working with investors to reopen hotels and taking steps to ensure the future of the sector.”
International cooperation will be the cornerstone of any recovery, Alaoui explained.
“Coordinated action with partners will be vital, we cannot be an island without our partners.
“This might mean a fast track for those who have been vaccinated, and we are considering some kind of passport,” she said.
“However, not all nations are able to vaccinate at the same rate, so the PCR test remains a valid way of opening borders.”
Currently 70 per cent of hospitality investment in Morocco comes from domestic sources, Alaoui told delegates at the Bench-organised event, with the country seeking to open up and welcome funds from overseas as the Covid-19 pandemic abates.
Alaoui pointed to 3,500 miles of coastline, historic imperial cities and a well-trained workforce as assets which could boost demand for investment in the future.
Morocco is currently seeing around ten deaths a day from Covid-19, down from a high of 70 a day in November.
The country has a population of around 36 million people.