After the Earthquake, Moroccans Face Rumors and Tourists Refuse to Leave

Moroccan activists on social media have launched several digital campaigns to support tourism in the city of Marrakech after the devastating earthquake that hit the kingdom.

One of these campaigns is “Marrakech is Safe.” which aims to encourage tourists to visit the Red City .and counteract rumors about the impact of the earthquake on the city’s tourism infrastructure.

The earthquake, which resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries and had a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale, struck major cities in the country. including Marrakech, which is considered the heart of tourism in the kingdom. It caused damage to historical landmarks and led to the collapse of some buildings in the old city.

Marrakech, known as the “City of Joy,.” is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. During the first half of this year (between January and June). it received one million and 652 thousand tourists from around the world. according to tourism observatory data.

Morocco is a favorite destination for tourists looking for new and unique experiences.

Abdelfattah Belaouni wrote on Facebook. “Due to my work in the tourism sector. I receive daily messages from various countries around the world. Some inquire about the situation in Marrakech and whether it is safe. I reply with gratitude that Marrakech is safe.”

Abdulaziz Al-Maghribi, who tweeted a picture of a person holding a sign that says “Marrakech is Safe,” said, “After the earthquake, a foreign tourist reassures the world that the city of Marrakech, the fortress of the defenders and the capital of the Almohads, is safe and secure.”

Tourists Refuse to Leave

After more than a week since the earthquake hit the country, the square of Jemaa el-Fna. one of the most prominent tourist areas in Marrakech. has begun to return to normalcy after a brief period of stagnation.

Abdelhak Ben Elkhadir, president of the Association of Merchants .and Craftsmen of Souk Jdid Square in Jemaa el-Fna. says that immediately after the earthquake, the square was able to regain its vitality and attract tourists of various nationalities.

He added that despite the negative image that some tried to promote regarding the impact of the earthquake on tourism in Marrakech. the situation is stable in the city. and there is a sense of reassurance among citizens and tourists.

Normal tourist influx has been recorded in the square. especially with the return of folklore shows during these days.

A group of tourists decided to extend their stay in Marrakech as a sign of solidarity and support for the city’s residents.

Facing the Earthquake’s Consequences

The Ministry of Tourism held meetings with tourism professionals to encourage them to continue promoting Marrakech as a destination and to offer incentives to revitalize the sector and address the consequences of the earthquake.

Mohammed Smaili, president of the National Federation of Travel Agencies in Morocco. stated that it is natural for the repercussions of the earthquake that hit the country to affect the tourism activity.

He added that immediately after the tragedy. false news about new earthquakes spread. contributing to the exaggeration of the situation in recent days.

Requests to cancel or postpone bookings that were scheduled during that period for visiting Morocco .and specifically Marrakech have been received.

According to estimates by tourism professionals. about five percent of tourists requested to postpone their reservations. while ten percent left Marrakech immediately after the tragedy. However. the majority chose to continue their visit to the Red City.

To prevent the tourism sector from paying the price of the earthquake. and to preserve the gains achieved by the sector after the COVID-19 crisis, Smaili calls for:

  • Security authorities to confront false news that could spread an inaccurate image of the situation in Marrakech.
  • Mobilizing all stakeholders in. the sector to promote the kingdom’s destination and the safety of its tourism infrastructure.
  • Active participation in international tourism exhibitions in the coming period and strengthening communication with travel agencies .and partners outside the kingdom.
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