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Hello 2024: Record number of travelers expected

Hello 2024: Record number of travelers expected

May 15, 2024 – 07:00 – Moroccans abroad


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The Spanish Ministry of the Interior has approved the special plan for Operation Marhaba 2024. This plan allows Moroccans residing in Europe to travel to Morocco via Spanish ports to spend their summer holidays.

The summer plan aims to “quickly and efficiently” regulate the annual migration flow between Europe and Africa, which has been taking place from June 15 to September 15 since 1986. “This is an important step forward,” said Susanna Crisostomo, Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, who chaired the meeting of the National Coordination and Consultation Committee (CECOD) where the approval was made. According to the plan, “It is an annual challenge in terms of preparedness, prevention and response capabilities.”

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The special plan for Operation Marhaba 2024 includes a fleet plan to determine the number of ships, their capacity, and the number of courses to manage the flow of passengers and vehicles. It also presents a plan for the regional coordination of the nine Spanish transit ports: Algeciras and Tarifa in Cádiz; Almeria, Malaga, Motril in Granada; Alicante, Valencia, Ceuta and Melilla, as well as specific road safety plans.

Preparations for Operation Paso del Estrecho (OPE) began at the beginning of January. A meeting of the joint Moroccan-Spanish committee is scheduled to be held in Tangier on May 20 to finalize the final details of the summer operation. This year, the start date of Operation Marhaba was moved forward to June 13 to accommodate the influx of Moroccans from Europe traveling through Spanish ports to celebrate Eid al-Adha with their families, which will be held in Morocco on June 17.

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According to expectations of the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergency, the number of Moroccans residing abroad and vehicles will increase by 6% and 4%, respectively, compared to the year 2023, in which 3,219,618 passengers and 775,410 vehicles crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. As in previous years, Operation Marhaba will take place in two phases: the outgoing phase (from June 15 to August 15) and the return phase (from August 15 to September 15). Large flows are expected between June 14 and 16, August 1 and 5, and August 30 and September 1.