Jewish Tourism to Morocco Expands with Israir’s Nonstop Flights from Tel Aviv to Marrakech, The Israeli carrier, Israir will begin new flights from Tel Aviv to Marrakech in July 2021. This exciting tourism development follows an improvement of ties in recent months between Israel and Morocco. Israir claims the six-hour nonstop flights will begin on July 19th, 2021. Israir will be the first airline to offer services between Israel and Morocco. This will be Israel’s first flight within Africa.
“We believe that demand will be high and that hundreds of thousands of Israelis will want to take advantage of these direct flights to Morocco,” an Israir spokesperson told The Times of Israel.
Israir will run five weekly services between Tel Aviv and Morocco’s fourth-largest city. The cost of a round-trip ticket from Tel Aviv to Marrakech will be $580 USD. There will be two return services on Mondays and Wednesdays as shown in their booking engine from mid-July.
The flights from Tel Aviv to Marrakech are charter flights instead of classic flights. Israir pointed out that the final ticketing approval is still pending even though the flights have been approved by Israel’s Director of Civil Aviation.
Morocco’s government expects the number of Jewish visitors from Israel to grow from 45,000 per year to 200,000. That compares with about 13 million yearly total foreign tourists before the Covid pandemic. Tourism revenue fell by 53.8% to 36.3 billion dirhams ($3.8 billion) in 2020 as the result of the pandemic.
Israeli flag carrier El Al Airlines has now confirmed they will also operate their first flight to Morocco. There will be a flight from Tel Aviv to Rabat beginning December 22nd, 2021 for a joint US-Israeli delegation.
Despite the two countries restoring ties in 2020, airlines have been slow to begin flights due to pandemic border closures and travel restrictions. Both tourist authorities are waiting for tourism to kick off again and flights to get onboard. Meanwhile, Israel’s key airport, Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International, is getting back to business.
Until Israel was founded in 1948, Morocco was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East. Jews prospered in Morocco for centuries and the Sephardic community had close ties with both the Amazigh (Berber) community along with a seamless integration with the Arab community in Morocco’s historic cities. The Jewish Mellah was the home of most Jews and was located next to the Kings Palace, as it remains today. Approximately 250,000 Jews left Morocco between 1948-1964 and emigrated to Israel.