RABAT- Morocco will provide 2 billion dirhams ($220 million) in aid to help tourism businesses and workers cope with COVID-19 restrictions, the tourism ministry said on Tuesday.

Morocco has kept its borders shut since late November and reinforced its vaccine pass requirements in response to the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The aid package includes 1 billion dirhams to help hotels renovate and stay afloat after a 22-month-long crisis, and a 2,000 dirham monthly payment in the first quarter of this year to affected workers, the ministry said in a statement.

Other measures include loan payment deferrals and a local tax waiver for 2020 and 2021.

Tourism generated $8 billion, or 7% of Morocco's economy, in 2019, when the country received 13 million tourists. But the central bank expects it to have made only $3.6 billion last year.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi Editing by Mark Potter) ((ahmed.eljechtimi@thomsonreuters.com;))