Although the country has diversified its economy and developed its industry, tourism retains a significant weight in the Moroccan economy. Today it accounts for 7% of the country’s GDP. However, “In terms of foreign exchange earnings, Morocco is not as dependent on tourism as it was in the past“, underlines Ilyes Zouari.
In 2022, tourism still allowed Morocco to limit the damage and minimize the increase in the trade balance deficit. Last year, tourism brought in just 8.5 billion euros to the country. The tourism sector has indeed benefited greatly from the resumption of activities after the Covid era. This year, before the earthquake, Morocco was expected to receive about 13 million foreign tourists.
Across the country, tourism should only be affected in the short term by the earthquake and its aftermath. “Affected areas today are areas without significant domestic economic activity“, points out Ilyes Zouari.
Tour operators have nothing to worry about. Even in Marrakesh or Agadir,”Hotels operate“, insists Tui, which has not seen any cancellations from its customers.
However, predicting tourist behavior is not an exact science. It should be noted that the earthquake that hit Turkey hard last winter caused a drop in bookings at seaside resorts, even though they are located far from the quake-hit areas.
If at the country level, tourism is probably nothing to fear, on the other hand, at the scale of the disaster zone, the availability of tourists is compromised in the medium term. It is not for nothing that Belgian Foreign Affairs advises travelers not to travel to the region at this time. What happens next? What will future tourists to the High Atlas find?
The city of Marrakesh is one of the major tourist destinations in the country. Since the end of the Covid era, arrivals at the Red City airport have increased by 91%. What will happen in the coming months?
Around Marrakech, the reconstruction of the region should be an opportunity for Professor Philippe Verwimp, an expert in economic development.Take it a step further“The development of tourism in this region of the Moroccan High Atlas depends above all,” emphasizes the professor.Private ventures like Airbnbs or small hotels“And it was limited, especially because of the lack of infrastructure, for example roads.
For Philippe Verwimp, improving infrastructure and tourism in these rural areas is an opportunity. “I think that would be necessary. If it is not done, people will leave the area“, he believes, because in this region,”People mainly live on tourism or agriculture“Therefore, the challenge will be to regenerate these devastated areas to make them not only livable but also attractive. “Misfortunes are sometimes followed by positive things“, says Ilys Zuari, it will be an opportunity”It should be used to connect these remote areas with water, sanitation etc.“.
Philippe Verwimp reminds him of the role of the construction industry “An engine of economic growth“.”This can create a new development in the regional economy“, he said.
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