Morocco to invest more than EUR 49 million in tourism and air transport in 2021

In 2021, Morocco will inject more than EUR 49 million in the tourism and air transport sector, hard hit by the pandemic, with tourist income falling by 92% during the first 3 quarters of 2020. The modernisation of the airports of Rabat, Casablanca and Nador will continue.

The tourism and air transport sector in Morocco will benefit from an investment of MAD 534.12 million (EUR 49.4 million) in 2021. The announcement was made on 25 November 2020 in Rabat by the Minister of Tourism, Handicrafts, Air Transport and Social Economy, Nadia Fettah Alaoui (photo).

It was during the defence of her budget before the Productive Sectors Commission (Chamber of Councillors), within the framework of the 2021 finance bill. This envelope represents 90% of the overall budget (excluding staff costs) of her department, she said.

In detail, the Moroccan Tourism Engineering Company (SMIT) and the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) will benefit from a grant of 300 million and 134.7 million dirhams respectively. While the endowment of the SMIT has undergone a cut of 18%, the budget of the ONMT is maintained unchanged.

This is in order to further promote national tourism with a view to recovering the market shares lost following the health crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister explained. In addition, training institutions in the sector will benefit from an allocation of 16.9 million dirhams.

It should be noted that the tourism sector, which represents 7% of Morocco's GDP, has experienced a historic contraction with a 78% drop in arrivals (January - September).

From 13 million arrivals in 2019, Morocco will have recorded only 2.2 million during the first nine months of the year. As a result, foreign currency arrivals were also impacted with a 92% drop compared to 2019.

Within the framework of a support programme for VSEs and hotels, about 1,198 companies have benefited from financial support amounting to MAD 684 million.

In the air transport sub-sector, ongoing projects will continue. These include the construction of the new terminal of the Rabat-Salé International Airport (with an estimated investment of MAD 1.6 billion) which will provide an additional capacity of 4 million passengers.

The works under way at the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca and the Nador airport in the north-east of the country should be completed by 2021.

Romuald Ngueyap