Two Israeli airlines start the first tourist flights to Marrakesh, Morocco

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date of publication:
25 Jul 2021 1:17 GMT

Update date: 25 Jul 2021 1:35 GMT

Today, Sunday, the Israeli airline El Al and Israir will start the first direct tourist flights to the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

Moroccan officials said that in addition to these two companies, a third company, “Arkia”, will start its flights to Morocco on the fourth of next August.

These flights will link directly between Tel Aviv, Marrakech and Casablanca, in a move aimed at attracting 38,000 Israeli tourists to Morocco by the end of this year, while Royal Air Maroc will bring 12,000 Israeli tourists by the end of 2021.

Morocco is betting on the Israelis of Moroccan origin, who are estimated to number about one million.

Morocco aspires to bring in 200,000 Israelis by 2022. “Israeli tourists have always come to Morocco, but via indirect flights. The difference today is the direct link that will speed up travel operations,” said Zubair Bouhoud, a researcher in the tourism field.

He added that factors such as vaccination against Covid-19 and controlling the epidemiological situation will determine the number of tourists between the two countries.

He also added that tourist trips between Morocco and Israel were postponed several times due to the epidemiological situation.

Officials said that the epidemiological situation in Morocco had witnessed an upward trend since June due to “the easing of precautionary measures.” To date, the number of COVID-19 cases has reached 575,162.

Morocco had restored diplomatic relations with Israel after a tripartite Moroccan-Israeli-American agreement on the tenth of last December, according to which Rabat restored diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara, which has been disputed with the Polisario Front since 1976.

Morocco closed the Israeli liaison office in Rabat in 2000 following the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.

After the restoration of diplomatic relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who heads the Al-Quds Committee, called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reassuring him that his position on the Palestinian issue was “steady and unchanging.”

And the Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, announced last Monday that he would visit Morocco at the end of July, according to what was reported by Reuters.

In televised statements, the Israeli minister described his visit to Morocco as a “historic occasion”, noting that his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, “will return the visit to open a diplomatic mission in Israel.”

Lapid’s visit to Morocco comes to open a new Israeli consulate in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, and to discuss upgrading relations between the two countries to the level of embassies, according to Israeli reports.





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