//NEWS: Significant crisis as COVID-19 brings tourism to its knees in Marrakech

NEWS: Significant crisis as COVID-19 brings tourism to its knees in Marrakech

Marrakesh is almost empty without the thousands and thousands of traffic who visit the snake charmers, story tellers and vibrant traders as the coronavirus pandemic brings tourism to its knees.

Morocco has 35 million inhabitants and has recorded over 1,500 deaths from coronavirus and more than 86,600 validated cases.

In the winding streets leading to the iconic Jamaa El Fna square, many of the shops are closed and the ones that open their doorways are lucky if they make a sale.

“Most of the merchants have closed their shops,” said Mohamed Challah, who sells flowing caftan robes.

“The others are opening to kill time because there is nothing to do at home,” he said, adding that his store “no longer sells anything”.

Morocco declared a kingdom of fitness emergency in mid-March and shut its borders to cease coronavirus from spreading.

It used to be hoped after restrictions have been eased, home tourism may be the answer to mitigate losses for stores and tourist operators.

But new restrictions closed the Marrakesh’s borders and seven different cities. Marrakesh, along with the financial capital Casablanca, is amongst the most affected cities.

Tourism is a key industry for Marrakesh and attracted three million site visitors closing year. For Jalil Habti Idrissi, who runs a 45-year-old tour agency, it will be “very hard to jump back”.

“We have skilled main crises in the past, however never of this magnitude,” Idrissi said, including his commercial enterprise had “collapsed.”

Official figures predict the pandemic should push the us of a into its worst recession seeing that 1996, with a contraction of greater than five percentage of its GDP.

(AFP)