Why now is the time to go to Morocco
The spirit of the Moroccan people has never shone brighter, says long-time Fez resident Tara Stevens. Go now, for the warmest welcome – at a time when your visit can help them get back on their feet.
Marrakech was quick to rebound after the earthquake on 8 September. The entire country pulled together to help, and most hotels and restaurants reopened within days. The resounding message is clear: Marrakech is safe, open and ready for you.
“Unfortunately, it’s caused some tourists to reconsider their travel plans to Morocco, which could have disastrous consequences for the local economy,” my friend Oussama Laftimi, founder of L’Blassa Coworking in Marrakech, told me. “The Moroccan government has taken every possible measure to ensure the safety of tourists, and the earthquake's epicentre was far from many tourist attractions, including bustling souks, vibrant nightlife, and stunning desert landscapes.”
Marrakech's economy relies heavily on tourism, from family-run establishments to world-class hotels such as La Mamounia, newly ranked no.6 on World's 50 Best Hotels list. Many working in the tourism sector have ties to the affected mountainous regions. While donations are crucial, the most sustainable way to assist in the long term is by keeping businesses afloat, ensuring a continuous flow of income that helps people rebuild their lives financially and emotionally.
Tahir Shah, an author and long-time Casablanca resident, aptly summarized the situation: "The earthquake was a terrible shock, but it's brought the Kingdom together with so many astonishing acts of hospitality and kindness. This is a moment in which the world needs visitors to keep coming, and to be there for Morocco."
Supporting the High Atlas
The High Atlas is a vast region that encompasses various areas. So, while it’s true that many villages require reconstruction, others, like Ourika, a 45-minute drive from Marrakech, have remained largely unscathed. Friends on the ground have told me that it is still possible to visit, eat in local restaurants and hike into valleys so beautiful in the autumn light they take your breath away.
Mike Richardson, founder of Café Clock – a cultural café with venues in Marrakech, Fez and Chefchaouen – was asleep in bed at his home in the Ourika Valley when the earthquake happened. “The villagers were truly wonderful in their care for all the community, humans and animals alike. The next day roads were cleared, and unsafe buildings checked. Within two days life was almost back to normal. I just hope that those thinking of delaying their trips to Morocco and this most beautiful region do not do so. We need you more than ever.”
So please come. Maybe even stay a little while longer. Marrakech and surrounding regions are as vibrant, vivacious and welcoming as ever. And the spirit of the Moroccan people is an inspiration to us all.