What is the latest Morocco travel advisory amidst a waning global pandemic and a war in Europe ?
Update 1.10.2022: Vaccine passes and PCR tests are NO LONGER MANDATORY to enter Morocco. Yes, you read that right. For the first time since 15 March 2020, Morocco is open to outside visitors with no need for vaccines or PCR tests.
Gorges and palm grove in the Anti Atlas mountains
MOROCCO AND COVID VACCINES
After a gruelling wait, the much- anticipated vaccines are finally making a difference, not least in the way people are booking up travel again. In Morocco, the first country in Africa to start vaccination, the campaign started on 29 January 2021 and 65 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. You can see here the evolution of the vaccination campaigns around the world.
Fortress - granary in Morocco's south
DO I NEED A COVID TEST FOR MOROCCO
No, since 30 September 2022, you no longer need a Covid test or Vaccine Certificate to enter Morocco. If your country of origin requires a PCR test for traveling back, PCR tests are available all over the country in major towns and a PCR test costs about 500 dirhams ( 50 euros), with an Express PCR test at 800 Dirhams ( 80 euros).
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO MOROCCO IN 2022 ?
Presently, Morocco is at an all time low in terms of deaths from Covid per million people ( see graph below). Having started end of January 2021 its vaccination campaign, Morocco is trailing somewhat behind European countries, but it is a clean leader when it comes to Africa ( see graph below). With 63 percent of the total population vaccinated, it is just below United States at 67 percent.
MOROCCO TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Since reopening of the borders in February, wearing a mask is no longer compulsory nation- wide in public spaces. The curfews have been lifted months ago. Public monuments are now open to public and Majorelle Gardens, Dar El Bacha museum, Le Jardin Secret, Maison de La Photographie or Kasbah des Oudayas ( most privately- owned tourist attractions) have been open since 2021. Most of our partner guest houses, riads, desert camps and eco lodges are now open.
Jemaa El Fna square, Marrakech
MOROCCO TRAVEL ADVICE:
# The Global Terrorism Index measures the impact of terrorism in 162 countries. To account for the lasting effects of terrorism, each country is given a score that represents a five year weighted average. On this index, Syria ranks #5, United States ranks # 28 and Morocco ranks #76 out of 163 countries: https://www.visionofhumanity.org/maps/global-terrorism-index/#/.
# In 2019, just before the onset of the pandemic, Marrakech made the Trip Advisor's Top 10 Choice destinations in the world, after having already made the list in 2015;
# The US State Department lauded Morocco’s “comprehensive” counter-terrorism strategy, underlining the country’s adherence to human rights standards and the increased transparency of law enforcement procedures. Among other things, the report states that: “in the past decade, Morocco has focused on upgrading mosques, promoting the teaching of relatively moderate Islam"
# On the map below crafted by International SOS, you can appreciate that Morocco is faring quite well when it comes to the assessment of threats posed by political violence, social unrest, pandemic impact, violent and domestic petty crimes, sharing the same security risk as Spain or France and most of Europe;
ANY FURTHER TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN MOROCCO ?
We can not foretell the future, but since the onset of the Covid pandemic, this October 2022 feels like the closest to normality we've been in the last 30 months, with a complete removal of entry requirements. With the opening of the land borders with Spain, the discarding of the nightly curfew and the restarting of the tourism services along with most flights from Europe and the US, we find it highly unlikely for Morocco to backtrack. If not for any other reason, the population of Marrakech, a city close to 2 million inhabitants that we've called home for the last 16 years, has been tremendously impacted by the disappearance of tourism overnight and is finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless, we encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover any eventuality.
MOROCCO BEST TIME TO VISIT
Update 1.10.2022: We're seeing a lot of bookings for Christmas and New Years Eve and some partner hotels are already fully booked during certain dates. It appears you'd wish to book outside winter holidays to avoid crowds. We'll keep this paragraph updated.
Perhaps it has never been a better time of year to book a Morocco holiday. Avoid the crowds: At the moment, it's October and Morocco is bursting with tourists. Figures are even above what a regular October would be, which is regulary high season. To relish seeing Morocco without rubbing shoulders with dozens other visitors, the best option is booking a Morocco private tour to include a lot of travel to remote, off- the- beaten- track areas, such as Draa Valley, the Sahara desert or the Gorges of Dades. No chance there of being jostled.
Discounted rates and flexible cancellation terms: It is no secret to anyone that everyone working in tourism in Morocco has toiled and strained from March 2020 until now, from the spontaneous food stalls on Jemaa El Fna square to the booking department of uber- luxury hotels such as La Mamounia or Royal Mansour. Therefore, you are likely to be offered last minute and/ or early- bird discounts, part of a nation wide effort to attract tourists back and ensure a more than necessary money flow to a depleted trade.
Help local populations: The pandemic has hit everyone, indeed, but unevenly. Before the pandemic, populations in remote areas of Morocco, where climate change and rural exodus are contributing to social inequalities were helped by the slight, yet constant passage of visitors. The few teas with the nomads, guided tours, bread- baking classes and the like helped making ends meet. These populations living on a day to day basis are currently the most affected. Each of us can make a small difference in our own way by inspiring people to travel again to those areas.
Sunset over palm grove
We've all been through a lot in the last couple of years. I can't think of a better place to put it all behind, than the top of a dune in the Sahara, soaking in the oceans of saffron- couloured sand, while the sun rises on the horizon. Here is to a 2023 full of hope and traveling to that once- in- a- lifetime destination.
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