Comment: The trade is reciprocating support for Morocco

It is crucial to keep selling a fantastic destination to help its recovery, says Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley

Last year, I was fortunate to join industry leaders at Abta’s Travel Convention in Marrakech.

It was a great chance to network and be involved in discussions about the future of the industry, as always, but it was also a wonderful opportunity to see more of a stunning destination.

In recent years, Moroccan tourism authorities have invested heavily in the UK market, showcasing the country’s unique history and culture, natural beauty and welcoming people.

And the relationships they have been building were in evidence this week, as a range of travel companies and associations moved quickly to offer support in the wake of last Friday’s devastating earthquake.

As Intrepid chief executive James Thornton told me on a Travel Weekly webcast, the immediate focus will be on emergency aid, particularly in the more remote Atlas mountains and the old part of Marrakech, which are most affected.

But he also urged the trade to show its support by continuing to sell the destination, with many parts of the country from Casablanca to Fez and the Sahara still open for business and keen to welcome visitors.

James’s views were echoed by former Silversea chief Mike Bonner, now sales boss of representation company Perowne International, who was in Marrakech at the time of the quake and saw first-hand the impact on the country and its people, who are so dependent on tourism.

Posting on social media, he also urged people to keep travelling to Morocco – saying he had already booked to return in January.

As James pointed out, it will only compound the tragedy if we don’t.

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