Poles camp at an airport in Morocco. They describe a dramatic situation

  • “I do not expect to return this year at all. Unfortunately, knowing Morocco and the two lockdowns that I have already experienced there, my mind tells me that it will not be two weeks” – confesses Ms Martyna, a Polish woman living with her husband in Morocco
  • “There is a terrible confusion here. The women are fighting and they landed at the police station” – describes the dynamic situation at the Marrakesh airport Ms Joanna
  • “After the conversation at the embassy, ​​we were devastated,” she recalls her first impressions right after the lockdown was announced by Kamil. Today he adds: “You can see that the ambassador is concerned about our problems and is trying to help”
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– This time I’m in Poland. I was supposed to fly home to Morocco on Thursday, as you know, the flights were canceled. For three days I have been talking to Poles who are stuck in Morocco, providing them with information and helping them book flights to Poland – describes the situation of a Polish woman, Ms Martyna, the wife of a Moroccan man, who due to the introduced lockdown, she and her husband were separated from their Moroccan family.

– I have two houses: here and there. My heart hurts that I will not see a Moroccan family for Christmas, but I will not camp in Poland at the airport waiting for the flight. I don’t expect to come back this year at all. Unfortunately, knowing Morocco and the two lockdowns that I have already experienced there, my mind tells me that it will not be two weeks – admits the Polish woman.

The day after our conversation, on Thursday, December 2 Ryanair announced it is suspending its connection to Morocco until February 1, 2022. According to the carrier, the reason for this decision is the lack of a clear position of the Moroccan government regarding the closure of the border. According to Ryanair, over 160,000 flights were canceled. customers of this company.

Easier with a travel agency?

The majority of Poles waiting to return to Poland are clients of travel agencies. And it is the operators who are responsible for safe return to the country.

– We are waiting for confirmation of the flight. We know from the information from the resident that the flight is about to take place. We are waiting for confirmation of the flight on Thursday as we have a scheduled departure on Friday. However, we know from the Internet that another Exim was not allowed to land. We are with Rainbow and today the office has confirmed tomorrow’s departure – reports Anna, a Polish tourist staying in Morocco on Thursday.

When asked where he gets the information about the dynamic situation, he replies:

– We follow the Facebook groups about Morocco. There, people exchange information, moreover, there are messages from the embassy. The office is responsible for us, so I hope that if the flight does not take place, they will secure the hotel and food for us.

In one of the groups, Poles exchange not only practical information, but also they also describe the tense atmosphere among tourists.

– There is a terrible confusion here. The women are fighting and they landed at the police station – Joanna describes the situation at the airport in Marrakesh.

Tourists from other countries are also impatient. The video posted on social media shows a group of about 20 people standing at the airport security gates, clapping and shouting: “We want a plane, we don’t want to be in Morocco.”

A costly attempt to get out of Morocco

Social media groups have become a lifeline for some tourists. They are especially important for those traveling on their own because, As reported by Kamila, who was staying in Morocco with her husband and friend, contact with the embassy in Rabat was difficult.

– We do not use a travel agency. We arrived on November 22nd and had a return flight to France on December 1st, and then to Poland. On Saturday we got the news that due to the blocking of flights from Morocco to France, our flight was canceled. On the same day we bought return tickets via Italy. Unfortunately, on the night of Sunday to Monday I got another message from Ryanair that the flight was canceled due to border closure. We tried to find ferries, but unfortunately we did not have confirmed whether they are actually suspended – reports Kamila and adds:

– On Monday morning we tried to call the Polish embassy in Morocco. We made a dozen or so calls before we managed to get through. Unfortunately, the lady at the embassy said that she could not help us and we should contact the carriers or travel agencies on this matter. To our questions, she replied that the ferries did not run and that the borders with Spain were closed.

Information obtained at the embassy forced Ms Kamila to seek help in social media.

– We immediately joined several groups on Facebook with Poles in Morocco, there we found several other couples in a similar situation. We had contact with a girl who was in person at the consulate in Rabat and also did not receive any help. We were angry, and after talking to you at the embassy, ​​we were even devastated. The comment was that the pandemic has been going on for 2 years and we should know well that travel is not recommended, and this was to be expected – it describes the dynamic situation in Morocco just after the borders were closed.

Hoping to obtain information, Ms Kamila and her companions went to the airport in Marrakesh.

– We found out at the Menara airport information desk that There are only AirFrance flights as French repatriates and maybe we will be able to buy something else online, but every day the carrier applies for a permit to fly in the Moroccan government and can not guarantee us whether the flight will actually take place in the next days – reports Kamila and emphasizes that it was really difficult to buy tickets: – We bought the last tickets, although it was hard, when booking the flight, rejected payments because someone applied for us. We also searched the internet and tried to contact the carrier’s service office directly, because the information posted on the website, Facebook and those shared with other Poles was uncertain.

On Tuesday evening, information about the possibility was posted on the website of the Polish embassy in Rabat return of Polish tourists on a repatriation flight to Romania. The embassy was waiting for the e-mail notifications of Poles and available seats on the plane to Bucharest.

– We tried to send a message. On Wednesday morning we were informed that we were qualified and we would probably be able to return to Europe on Thursday 2nd December. However, the e-mail from the embassy is a bit unclear – says Kamila and admits that she reported three travelers, but there is no mention of this in the information sent by the embassy.

Photo: Arch. priv.

Flight information for Bucharest

– We only hope that they will let all three of us on board – sums up Kamila during our conversation on Wednesday evening and admits that due to the lack of certainty about the return on the Romanian repatriation flight, tourists bought tickets to France.

– Fortunately, we still have tickets for December 5. If we manage to fly on Thursday, we will sell the tickets to other Poles who have not been able to buy tickets online or get a flight (to Bucharest, ed.). We bought tickets for December 5 to France for 360 euro per person. Apparently, later the last tickets were even more expensive – calculates the costs of Kamila’s return to Poland and adds: – The repatriation flight is free, but only 18 Poles are allowed on board, including the three of us.

A Polish woman at the airport in Marrakesh met the Polish ambassador in Rabat, Krzysztof Karwowski, who was to admit that it was only around 5 a.m. on Thursday 2 December, i.e. on the day of departure, that permission was given for the Romanian plane to land in Morocco.

Today, Kamila admits: – You can see that the ambassador is concerned about our problems and is trying to help.

In turn, Mr. Marek, who traveled to Morocco with a friend on his own, comments: – The embassy’s involvement is at a good level. A flight to Bucharest was organized and information was provided on other repatriation flights organized by Iberie, Royal Air Morocco, Transavie and Air France.

However, the flights reported by the embassy are not directed directly to Poland. Tourists have to take care of the return journey from France, Romania or Spain themselves.

– We have already bought a flight from Bucharest to Warsaw. If all goes well then we will be in the country on Friday – adds Marek.

Lockdown in Morocco – as Poles see it

– In general, the atmosphere of relaxation prevails – everyone rests, visits. We do not feel a lockdown yet, however Moroccans are broken because they live from tourism. It is a drama for them, they come from the airport to sell anything on the promenade. The closure of the borders is a tragedy for them – comments Anna on the Moroccan lockdown and emphasizes: – Our hotel is almost empty, a handful of us left. We do not lack anything, everyone cares about our comfort, but the stay is still paid for. We’ll see what happens next.

Ms Martyna, a Polish woman who lives with her husband in Morocco on a daily basis, emphasizes that many tourists found themselves in a difficult position due to their fault:

– I understand the location of these people, but I do not understand this lamentation, crying – they wanted to go on vacation, and they landed in an exotic country on lockdown. The situation around the world is what it is. Many of them should be familiar with the Moroccan restrictions and the fact that there is a state of emergency in the country. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been reporting for several months that traveling to Morocco is fraught with enormous risk. – comments on the situation of Polish tourists and emphasizes: – The authorities have the right to impose restrictions by the hour. Due to the situation, the embassy is not responsible for people, citing information published by them at the beginning of the pandemic on the government’s website, where “tourist journeys are not recommended”.

When asked about the situation for Moroccans waiting for a return flight, she explains that still there is no information on this.

Even the Moroccans who are abroad did not get any information but the situation develops by the hour. More and more repatriation flights from Morocco take place, so probably the issues of bringing Moroccans and Moroccan residents will also be considered soon – admits the Polish woman hopefully.

About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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