MOROCCO – Morocco’s travel receipts jumped to a record US$8.12B in 2019, up from US$7.5 billion recorded during a similar period in 2018, a new report by Morocco’s Exchange Office has revealed.

The annual report on the Morocco’s balance of payments and international investment position also highlighted the travel receipt’s countries of origin.

Data obtained from the report show that France issued the majority of Morocco’s travel receipts, accounting for MAD 25.7 billion ($2.6 billion).

Spain came in second after France, issuing MAD 6.68 billion ($688.7 million) in travel receipts, followed by the UK with 6.31 billion ($650.5 million) and Saudi Arabia with $2.78 billion ($286.6 million).

The report revealed that most of foreign spending in Morocco in 2019 was primarily concentrated in tourism (55%), tuition (25.4%), and religious travel (9%).

Service receipts on the other hand, dominated the travel receipts representing a staggering 42% of expenses and were followed by transport receipts which comprised 19% of the total expenses.

According to the Exchange Office report, expenditures also increased significantly, rising from MAD 18.6 billion (US$1.9 billion) to MAD 20.9 billion (US$2.15 billion).

There is however no chance that the travels receipts of this year will match or even come close to those recorded in 2019.

This is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced Morocco to impose restrictions on international travel.

The number of tourists has for instance, fell by 45% when compared to last year while overnight stays have dropped by approximately 43%.

Tourism receipts which contribute a significant portion of the total travel receipts have also plummeted by 15% since the onset of the pandemic.

Data from the ministry of tourism show that between January and April alone, travel receipts fell from MAD 23 billion ($2.307 billion) to MAD 20 billion ($2 billion), a 13% drop.

The continued closure of Morocco’s borders spells dooms for the country’s tourism sector which like many in Africa is kept afloat by international travel.

Hope is however not lost for Morocco’s tourism sector. Domestic tourism in has for instance, seen a revival since lockdown restrictions were eased on June.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have also pledged to support the recovery of the tourism sector in Morocco.

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