After two years of economic stagnation, Ouarzazate’s tourism sector partially recovered despite the consequences of the pandemic, as the number of arrivals in the city and overnight stays in tourist accommodation establishments increased from last May.
However, professional events indicated that Ouarzazate is experiencing an “economic crisis” due to the weak income from the tourism sector that occupies the city’s inhabitants, noting that it has not yet been able to leave the “danger zone” after lifting the precautionary measure. measures.
The number of overnight stays, according to professional sources, reached more than 388,233 nights in 2018, compared to 380,000 in 2019 (2% less), while overnight stays fell to 71,607 nights in 2020, and also continued to decline in 2021 and 2022 . .
In this regard, Zubair Bouhout, tour operator from the south, said: “The stagnation of the sector is due to many obstacles; The most important are poor air transport, lack of investment, with the acceleration of hotel closures, in addition to the absence of promotion budgets”.
Bouhout added, in statements to the electronic newspaper Hespress, that “the Kingdom’s airports witnessed a remarkable recovery during the month of June, since the number of passengers exceeded one million and 874,000 passengers; Which represents around 89 percent of the number registered during the month of June 2019.”
And the tourism actor continued: “If most airports in the Kingdom recorded significant recovery rates (Tetouan 444 percent, Oujda 104 percent, Fez 72 percent, Agadir 63 percent), Ouarzazate airport recorded only one rate. 45 percent recovery; Which is something that will lose its ranking compared to the competition airports, because it has fallen three places.
And the same spokesman added: “The decline in air transport, in addition to other factors, had a negative impact on the activity of the sector, since Ouarzazate only recovered 23 percent of its activity; This represents a 77 percent decrease in the first six months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2019.
The professional actor also warned about “the successive closure of hotels in Ouarzazate since the pandemic, since the total number of closed hotel establishments exceeded 18”, and called for “strengthening the tourist offer with investments in tourist reception structures”. ”
The spokesman concluded his statement by saying: “Ouarzazate attracts about 40% of foreign film productions filmed in Morocco; However, it faces great competition from many destinations”, he said, noting in this regard that “the Minister of Culture has recently announced a project to build a studio in Marrakech; Which will be a bullet of mercy for Ouarzazate.”