Morocco to reopen air borders after two months of isolation

A Royal Air Maroc (RAM) Boeing 787-8 "Dreamliner" landing at Benslimane airport in Morocco on February 2, 2020. AFP - FADEL SENNA

Text by: RFI Follow

3 mins

The Moroccan government has decided to reopen its airspace from February 7 to flights to and from the country, after more than two months of closure.

A relief for the residents.

Advertising

Read more

The decision to open the air borders, closed since November 29 due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant, was announced on the evening of Thursday January 27.

“ 

This decision comes in accordance with the legal provisions relating to the management of the state of health emergency and following the recommendations of the scientific and technical commission and taking into account the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the kingdom

 ”, indicates the press release. 

The government nevertheless extended the same day the state of health emergency in force since 2020, throughout the territory, until February 28.

A valve for tourism

Authorities were under pressure from a bankrupt tourism sector and Moroccans stranded abroad. The border closures have hit the tourism, hotel and catering industry hard, a vital sector for the kingdom's economy.

Despite the announcement of a two billion dirham (190 million euro) tourism support plan, tourist operators demonstrated on Wednesday across the kingdom to demand the reopening of borders.

“ 

The closure is dealing us a very hard blow since we are now at a standstill while our charges are still fixed

 ,” testified to AFP Mimoun Azzouzi, owner of a travel agency in Temara, near Rabat. “ 

The people want the borders to reopen

 ,” chanted hundreds of protesters in Marrakech, the tourist capital, according to videos posted on Facebook.

Relief for Moroccans and French

The French Minister Delegate in charge of Tourism and SMEs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne welcomed Morocco's announcement on Friday January 28. " 

This is good news for French travel companies because Morocco is traditionally in the top three destinations when the French choose to go abroad

 ," he said on France Info TV. When Morocco closed its borders in March 2020, France had repatriated 20,000 to 30,000 French people passing through.

The announcement of the opening of airspace is also a relief for French expatriates.

Some missed the holiday season for the second year in a row.

“ 

It was relatively expected in recent days.

This is not a surprise, but a relief for Moroccan and French expatriates

 ,” testifies Anne, a school teacher in Rabat, the Moroccan capital.

“ 

We live in a beautiful country, but it's important to be able to go home to see your family, your parents, your student children.

 “ 

Not being able to return for the holidays is always painful, and this will allow us to regain some momentum, to get out of this stress, even if the epidemic is not over in Morocco

 confirms Bernard, a teacher in a French high school in Rabat.

On both sides of the Mediterranean, the constraint has sometimes been particularly badly experienced, for Moroccan and French expatriates alike.

I have colleagues who have faced dramatic situations, parents who died in France without being able to attend the funeral

 ", continues Anne. 

Everyone on site remains cautious and will only rejoice once on French soil for a holiday or a weekend: since mid-December, the epidemic has started to rise again, and Moroccan power could always backtrack. if the health situation spirals out of control.

► To read also: Morocco: the traders of the souk of Marrakech desperate by the crisis

(

With

AFP)

Newsletter

Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

google-play-badge_EN

  • Morocco

  • France

  • Tourism

Keywords: