While Moroccans living in Europe are preparing to return to Morocco this summer, others have already had this annual trip disrupted, in 2020 and 2021, by the Covid-19 pandemic. While this year’s Operation Marhaba looks different from its predecessor, with the resumption of flights and shipping companies from Spain, the summer dilemma for Moroccans living abroad remains the same. They must therefore choose between a departure by plane or by car and boat.
Take off by plane
The summer period is always characterized by an increase in prices in this high season, the prices for airline tickets depend on several factors, including the date of departure, the country of departure and the city of destination. Thus, for a Paris Orly-Tanger flight on Monday 27 June, for two adults and two children under the age of 12, it is shown at 975 euros with Royal Air Maroc (RAM). Transavia, for its part, offers the same trip for 1,016 euros. A price to which a surcharge must be added for checked baggage.
Flights connecting Fez to Paris, for the same day and with the same configuration, are not cheaper and are offered for 1,192 euros with Transavia (2.55) and 1,661 euros with Royal Air Maroc (2.45). From Charleroi Brussels-South Airport to Oujda, also for Monday 27 June and for two adults and two children, the price is 1,280 euros with the Belgian company TUI aircraft. The flight this time lasts 3h25.
For a flight connecting Madrid to Tangier, on the same day and with the same configuration (two adults and two children), the price reaches 586 euros, with the airline Air Arabia in a duration of 1.35 and 1,435 euros with Ryanair in a duration from kl. . 1.30.
However, if the aircraft has the advantage of offering a journey of very short duration, it must be taken into account that the weight of luggage is limited. In addition, travelers must, once they have arrived, rent a car to get around and thus provide at least 30 euros a day for a small city car.
Drive a car
But driving a car does not only have benefits. For the Marhaba 2022 operation, prices are sky-high with fuel price increases. Travelers can choose between Spain (Algeciras, Motril and Almeria), France (via Sète) or Italy (Genoa) for the sea crossing, with the journey by car in advance to reach Morocco from the countries of ‘welcome’.
From Paris to Algeciras (1,920 km on the motorway via the A10 A-62 A-66) it is thus necessary to plan 338.65 euros divided into 244.75 € fuel and 93.9 € toll for a duration of 18:54. However, travelers can choose the Paris-Almeria route (1,815 km and 17.39 via the A75 AP-7) by paying € 296.83 (€ 230.83 for fuel and € 66 for tolls) or for the Paris-Motril route (316, € 99 including € 223 in fuel and € 93.9 in toll) for a duration of 17:13 via the A10 A-4.
From Paris to Sète (approx. 754 km on the motorway via the A71 A75), it takes 7.34 with an estimated price of € 149.61 (€ 51.9 for tolls and € 97.71 for fuel). To Genoa from Paris, the shortest travel time (912 km via the A6 A40) is 9.14 at a price of 260 euros (139.7 € for tolls and 120.3 € for fuel). However, travelers can spend € 206.99 (including € 38.5 for tolls and € 129.49 for fuel) for a 10:57 journey via the A5 and A2 (981 km). The port of Genoa is increasingly interesting to Moroccans from Italy and the far south-east of France.
In the case of the MRE coming from Belgium, a departure from Brussels to Sète will in turn cost 214.3 euros divided into 135,2,2 € fuel, 44,1 € toll and 35 € vignette for a 11h11 journey via the A77 A75. The journey Brussels-Genoa (1017 km) will take 10.45 hours via the A4 and A2 with an estimated cost of € 234.51 (including € 26.3 for tolls and € 134.21 for fuel). Finally, if travelers choose to take the crossing from Spain, it is necessary to plan at least € 396.56 for the Brussels-Almeria route (including € 269.69 for fuel) for 2,126 km at 20:42 via A9 AP-7.
The boat is crossing
Then comes the sea route, still intended for four people (two adults and two children) by June 27th. From the port of Algeciras, the crossing is provided by several shipping companies. Ticket prices are offered at € 268 for Inter Shipping, € 272 for AML, € 283 for Balearia and € 284 for FRS. Another transfer is offered by this derbière to Tangier town from the port of Tarifa, same day, for 328 €.
From the port of Motril to Al Hoceima you have to pay € 474 for a 5-hour crossing, while Naviera Armas and Balearia offer the same day the crossing from the port of Almeria to the port of Nador for € 474 and € 527 respectively.
For the port of Genoa, Monday 27 June, it is necessary to count 1,451 euros for a crossing with Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV). The maritime connection provided only by this maritime company lasts between 51.5 and 57 hours depending on the boat. Note, however, that the boat garages are declared filled on the freight company’s website in the period June 27 to July 7.
On the same day and from the port of Sète, the crossing to Tangier Med, also provided by GNV, is offered from € 1,308. As for the second maritime line connecting the Sète with Nador, the GNV crossing (38 hours) is offered on 27 June for € 1,257. The price of tickets on Balearia for the same route, but with different dates, is € 1,172.
Finally, for Marseille-Tangier Med (43 hours), where ferries are only available from 7 July, ticket prices are offered from € 1,373 by La Méridionale. To summarize, although each mode of transport has its advantages (speed, comfort, car) and its disadvantages (duration, fatigue or limitation of luggage) and its tariff range in this high season, and with our example of a family of 4 people (except a possible car rental in Morocco), the aircraft is always presented as the most economical means. The car-boat combination exceeds 1,400 euros for a trip from Paris (via Sète and Tangier Med).
Note that this simulation only relates to the one-way trip and that it is necessary to count at least double by adding the cost of the return. Not to mention the cost of Covid-19, including PCR tests for unvaccinated humans.