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Morocco's tourism struggles to survive amid pandemic

Few people walk in the Jemaa el-Fna square in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, on May 6, 2021, which has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis   -  
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FADEL SENNA/AFP or licensors -


In Marrakesh, Morocco's tourism stronghold, some people are desperately waiting for the business to pick up after it was slowed down for over a year due to the health crisis. The iconic Jemaa el-Fnaa square, usually full of street performers and shopkeepers is almost empty, as are the many other places that welcome tourists to this city usually so popular with locals and internationals alike.

"Today, the artists (who used to be in the square) are begging in the souks. Some of them even died during this pandemic and we don't even know what happened to their children," Mariam Amal, street musician and community activist argued.

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

"If they let us work, we won't be in need anymore. They say that they can't control Jemaa el-Fnaa Square if it is full of people, especially in relation to the distance. This is their argument because Jemaa el-Fnaa is filled, it is uncontrollable!" Mariam Amal, street musician and community activist complained.

Official figures predict the pandemic could push the country into its worst recession since 1996, with a contraction of more than five percent of its GDP.

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