Morocco will reopen its land and air borders on Feb. 7 after halting flight operations from all countries on Nov 19.
The decision to reopen comes after health authorities reported that the peak of Omicron cases in the country had already passed.
The government, however, failed to reveal the specifics of the restrictions it will impose on international visitors.
“To accompany the implementation of this decision, a technical commission will be set up to assess the needs of border posts in terms of requests for formalities and the conditions required for travelers, which will be announced at a later date,” MAP reported.
However, according to the UK Foreign Office’s travel advice for Morocco, “when flights resume,” travelers will be required to provide a vaccine certificate as well as a negative PCR test result.
“The result must show that the PCR test itself was undertaken no more than 48 hours before boarding. For travel by ferry, you will also need to take a Covid-19 test during the journey. Children under the age of six years old are exempt from the PCR testing requirement for entry into Morocco,” it reads.
Whatever the restrictions will be, the decision is unquestionably good news for the Moroccan tourism sector, which has been seriously affected by the continuous border closures.
“The last two months have been incredibly difficult for the many people who depend on tourism for their income in Morocco,” says Zina Bencheikh, the Managing Director of Intrepid Travel EMEA, a Moroccan travel agency.
“Domestic tourism cannot compensate for the fall in the number of foreign visitors and many businesses have struggled to stay afloat.”
Morocco’s tourism industry accounts for 19 percent of the country’s GDP. But, with the ban in effect for the past two months, Morocco missed the profitable Christmas and New Year’s tourism seasons.
“We were very optimistic with the arrival of the New Year, but these decisions took us by surprise,” said Khalid Moubarak, secretary-general of the National Federation of Travel Agencies of Morocco. “We were on the edge of bankruptcy.”
The decision will not only benefit international tourists and the local tourism sector but also the thousands of Moroccans who were locked out and unable to return to their country.