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As Morocco eases lockdown measures, tourism facilities to slowly but surely resume activities

As part of its deconfinement plan, Morocco has announced that it is easing lockdown measures and relaunching economic activities, including the tourism-related ones. In several parts of the country, hotels that were forced to close their doors during the lockdown are ready to resume activities all while abiding by the sanitary measures.

Bin Ouidane. / DR
Estimated read time: 3'

On Sunday, Morocco announced a set of new measures to ease the lockdown in most of the country’s regions. In zone 1, which includes provinces and regions that have managed to control the pandemic, life is starting to get back to normal.

While cafés and restaurants will open their doors again, intercity travel and tourism facilities will be able to slowly but surely get back on track. According to a press release issued by the Ministries of Interior, Health and Industry, Sunday, hotels will be able to resume their activities, operating with no more than 50% of the accommodation and reception capacity.

Training staff

The news have pushed several hotel owners to start preparing for their comeback. In Chefchaouen, a city in northwestern Morocco and an attractive destination for foreign and local tourists, hotel owner Adil has already been planning for the reopening.

After he closed his business for three months due to the global health crisis, he is currently getting his staff ready for the exceptional resumption of activities. «We are training the staff and trying to get them accustomed to the new way of working», Adil told Yabiladi, referring to a series of sanitary measures.

«In addition to social distancing and other preventive measures, we are working on adapting our space to the new situation», he explained. Adil and his staff will be putting tape markings on the ground to help guide their future guests and avoid contagion. Prepping the hotel will also be accompanied by the purchasing of hygiene products, masks and gels, he added.

Adil’s plans, however, are only what he deemed personally right for his business, he said. «These are all ideas I thought of doing to prepare for the reopening. I have not received any note or document from the authorities tracing the measures I have to follow», he stressed.

Reducing prices to attarct guests

One of the other measures the Chefchaouen-based entrepreneur is forced to implement is price-related. With the closure of borders, the tourism industry in Morocco will rely only on national travelers. «We had to reduce our prices to attract guests after all this time», he explained.

Adil said that he reduced his prices almost by half to secure some bookings, especially after a period, during which he had no revenue.

The same strategy will be followed by Rachida Benkabour, the owner of a hotel in Bin Ouidan, another tourist destination in central Morocco. «Despite the losses, we will have to introduce attractive prices for future guests», she told Yabiladi.

Benkabour explained that the health crisis has pushed her to close the hotel for three months. A peak season for travelers who like holidaying in that part of the country. The rough period, however, will not prevent the hotel owner from following the necessary preventive measures.

«We will be opening our doors but all while taking preventive measures, such as sanitation, social distancing and the wearing of masks», Benkabour said, adding, however, that she has not received any directives from the authorities in her region as of yet on how to proceed with the next period.

Getting ready for the summer season

In southern Morocco, and most precisely in Dakhla, preparations are ongoing to resume activities, as Morocco announced the resumption of domestic flights. «The region has already started with the preparations to receive guests», said Daifallah Ndour, the regional tourism delegate in Dakhla.

According to him, preparations include disinfecting facilities, like hotels, restaurants as well as public transportation means. With regards to hotels, the operators will have to disinfect rooms after every stay. «After every stay, hotel rooms will remain unutilized 48 hours before being able to receive new guests», he explained. In addition to these measures, Ndour explained that there are others that are still being studied.

«We thought of distributing kits at the airport, with masks, sanitizing gels and maps with places to visit in the region», he added. Ndour also explained that most of the city’s tourist facilities and activities are social distancing-friendly. «In Dakhla, hotels are sparsely located and most of them include bungalows that are separated from each other and provide a good base for social distancing», he added.

And as for other regions, Ndour explained that hotels in Dakhla will be reducing prices and offering promising packages to guests, hoping that «RAM can also contribute to the campaign by lowering the prices of flights to the city», he concluded.

Like many other sectors, the tourism one will have to slowly resume its activities, recovering from the crisis that has kept Moroccans indoors for more than three months.

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