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can i travel to Morocco after the earthquake

can I travel to Morocco after the earthquake?

This year has seen calamity strike some of the world’s most famous tourist destinations, including Turkey, Greece, Hawaii, and now Morocco, with earthquakes, wildfires, and floods razing whole towns and villages, killing citizens, and destroying or injuring historic treasures.
Many visitors are at a loss for words as a result of the succession of tragic occurrences. Those who are already in a disaster-affected nation discuss whether they should remain or go. Those who have scheduled excursions question whether they can travel to Morocco after the earthquake or cancel. Can they, and the income they generate, be of genuine assistance, or will they be a burden? How acceptable is it to allow tourism to continue when a country is in sorrow and rescue attempts are underway?
According to travel experts, there are no simple solutions. While tourists are recommended to heed the advice of government authorities in the wake of such occurrences, local communities may not always agree on the best course of action. Following the destruction of most of the town of Lahaina by wildfires in August, which killed at least 115 people, inhabitants on the island, which relies on tourist revenue, battled over the decision to allow tourism to continue as locals mourned for all that was lost.
The prognosis is more unified in Morocco, where a massive 6.8-magnitude earthquake slammed the Atlas Mountains southwest of Marrakesh on Friday, killing hundreds. With the busy tourism season started and the majority of the devastation impacting rural regions distant from tourist hotspots, many residents are keen for international tourists to continue arriving in order to support the economy and provide donations for relief efforts.

“After Covid, the abandonment of tourists would be terrible for Marrakesh, where so many resources come from tourism,” said Mouna Anajjar, editor in chief of the local feature magazine I Came for Couscous. “Whether directly or indirectly, all residents are linked to this resource and would be severely impacted.”
Here are some things visitors considering visiting a disaster-stricken nation should consider.

 

Is the location available to tourists?

To evaluate the situation on the ground, consult official government guidelines and local media reporting. When fatal flames ripped over portions of Maui last month, local officials advised visitors to remain at home. So far, the Moroccan government has made no public pronouncements other than to update the progress of rescue attempts, and the country’s tourist bureau has not responded to several requests for comment. The British Foreign Office encouraged British nationals wanting to visit the country to speak with their tour operators about any potential interruptions.
While the US State Department has not changed its travel recommendation for Morocco, it is a good idea to check the website before going to any disaster-affected nation.
Determine where the catastrophe occurred and which regions were impacted. When wildfires scorched Greece in July, forcing thousands of visitors to flee the islands of Rhodes and Corfu, many travelers, even those headed to undamaged regions, canceled their holidays. The Greek tourism minister responded, emphasizing that the bulk of the nation, including sections of the damaged islands, was still safe for visitors.
Editors’ Choices

The earthquake that rocked Morocco on Friday was felt in several renowned tourist sites, including Marrakesh and the cities of Imsouane and Essaouira, although the majority of the damage was centered around the epicenter in Al Haouz Province. Most Morocco excursions were canceled in the early aftermath of the earthquake as tour operators hurried to do vital safety checks, ensuring that all of their customers and personnel were safe and that visitors were not impeding rescue operations.
However, now that it has been determined that the damage is limited to rural regions and in accordance with official guidelines, most trips are back in operation with some modified itineraries. According to Morocco’s hotel association, the hotel industry has been mainly unaffected.
“There are areas within the Marrakesh medina that have been damaged, and some historical monuments are closed, but most areas within the cities are completely safe to visit,” said Zina Bencheikh, managing director of Intrepid Travel’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations and a native of Marrakesh. “Despite the shock of the incident, the majority of the country is open, with airports, schools, hotels, shops, and restaurants operating normally.”
Intrepid Travel had 600 clients in Morocco on the night of the earthquake, and just 17 of them had to cancel their excursions. TUI, Europe’s biggest travel operator, stated that although some of its itineraries were being reviewed, the bulk of its clients had elected to remain after the business conducted safety assessments and decided to support keeping Morocco open.

 

Will I be a burden on local communities as a tourist?

When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southern Turkey in February, Turkish Airlines, the country’s main airline, delayed hundreds of flights to make room for rescue attempts. Airlines suspended flights to Hawaii during the Maui wildfires so that they could utilize the aircraft to bring people back to the mainland. The majority of West Maui remains inaccessible to visitors, although it is slated to reopen on October 8.
The hardest-hit sections in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains are now blocked off while rescue attempts continue, and visitors are cautioned not to enter certain areas. However, tourism is promoted in other parts of the nation that have not been harmed.
Hafida Hdoubane, a Marrakesh-based guide who leads hiking and trekking trips, advised people to come, claiming that the threat from the earthquake had gone and that officials in Marrakesh were carefully cordoning off any structures exhibiting symptoms of damage.
She said that people who contacted to cancel their trips were concerned about vacationing in a nation that had just been devastated, but that locals did not share that sentiment. “I think it’s best for me to come and show that life goes on,” she said. “What a mountain tourist can do to help is come, show that they are here, and stand in solidarity.”

 

Should I modify my behavior?

Most locals would not expect you to, but it is crucial to be open and aware of your surroundings.
The image of visitors lounging on the beach as rescue workers looked for survivors in Maui infuriated mourning islanders, sparking a social media campaign demanding for them to leave.
“The Moroccans will tell you not to turn Morocco off,” said Ms. Ali from Days Morocco Tours.
The regional director of the Barceló Hotel Group, which has facilities in Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Fez, ngel Esquinas, said there was no imminent need for travellers to cut their excursions short unless they thought it was essential.
“It is perfectly acceptable for tourists to carry on with their planned activities, such as going on tours, lounging by the pool, or enjoying the nightlife.” Morocco continues to be a dynamic and hospitable destination,” he stated. “However, we encourage visitors to be aware of their surroundings and to respect the unique circumstances of the local communities.” It’s critical to achieve a balance between helping the local economy and not overburdening the community.”
Cassandra Karinsky, co-founder of Plus-61, a renowned restaurant in Marrakesh, said she reopened a day after the earthquake to give a space for residents to come together at a tough time. “We’ve had a lot of cancellations, but we’re coming together now to raise money and support our local communities, and it’s starting to get busy again.”
She said that the tone was darker than normal and that people were still in shock, but that visitors were kind and respectful of residents.
“People still need to eat, and there’s a more optimistic atmosphere every day to come together to help and move forward,” she added.

 

What can I do to assist?

Visiting a nation may help disaster relief efforts significantly since many residents rely on tourist money for a living. Tourism accounts for 7.1 per cent of Morocco’s GDP and is an important source of income for low- to middle-income people. Many restaurants and hotels have launched fundraising initiatives to assist their staff and their families in the hardest-hit regions.
You may help by donating to disaster relief organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our travel company‘s charity has launched an earthquake relief campaign in Morocco to help local populations with food, shelter, clean water, and medical care.

Despite all this, travel to Morocco after the earthquake is still feasible. The earthquake’s devastation is mostly restricted to rural areas, while major tourist sites remain secure and unharmed. The Moroccan government, in collaboration with travel operators and hotel organizations, has implemented appropriate safety steps and altered itineraries to guarantee the safety of tourists. Local communities in Morocco are urging foreign visitors to continue coming since it helps the economy and aids humanitarian operations. Travelers may help to the rebuilding effort while enjoying Morocco as the lively and friendly destination that it is by being mindful of the unique conditions and supporting local businesses.

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