Explosion at the Argana Café in Jeema el Fna on 28th April

 

After the initial shock we are filled with sadness at this tragic loss of lives, and sad thoughts of those suffering and grieving.

 

How will this event affect my stay?

 

Expect to experience increased security and delays at airports. a sad fact of life is that inevitably there will be profiling of visitors and anyone of MENA origin or Moslem may get greater scrutiny at the airport.

 

Hopefully there will be increased security at public places and restaurants.

 

As part of our response we plan to increase the eating in options at the Riad, including snacks, and take-out options from local suppliers. For main meals please remember to order ahead on the morning of the day.

 

We can also arrange guides for half day tours of the old medina, again please book in advance.

 

If there is sufficient demand we can also arrange local in-house entertainment.

 

We have a range of hammam and spa treatments as well as a cookery workshop. Taking part in other craft workshops can be arranged

 

Cancellations

 

Unless your Government Foreign Office advises not to travel then it is OK. The UK FCO has not changed the risk level for Morocco (which incidentally is lower than for London!!) and their advice is there are no travel restrictions to Morocco, but to be vigilant around your own personal safety. As far as I am aware no other European or Western governments have advised against travelling. Our position is that any cancellation before FO advice not to travel will be treated as a guest cancellation and subject to our cancellation payment provisions. If governments do advise not to travel then we will offer a postponement to a later time. Please ensure you take out travel insurance, and follow FO travel advice.

 

 

The background

 

Whatever the aims and motivations of those behind the attack, we live with the consequences.

 

There is a possible loss of recently granted individual freedoms, a reaction one sees throughout the world as a response to acts of terrorism; and a threat to the livelihood of many thousands of Moroccans and their families who are dependent on the tourist trade.

 

The attack has taken place against the backdrop of political unrest and change, but because it so far out of line with what has happened is unlikely to have the same aims and motivations. First thoughts are that it must be seen a separate terrorist attack on Moroccans and tourists alike.

 

We hope that this is an isolated incident and that life here can return to its usual string of surprises, and not this agonizingly unpleasant one.

 

We do not know how the incident is linked to the so called ‘Arab Spring’ but it will impact the process of change that is going on here.

 

Other demonstrations

 

Mid-April the king, Mohammed VI, pardoned or cut the sentences of 190 detainees, including Islamists and Sahrawi political prisoners, as part of his promised concessions on rights and judicial independence.

 

Morocco has remained relatively peaceful amid recent unrest in north Africa and the Arab world, and the king has pledged constitutional reforms following several largely peaceful protests over the past two months. During these protests there have been no reported attacks on tourists, and rioters have been severly dealt with.

 

Finally

 

The tragic incident in Marrakech is very much of a different order to those peaceful demonstrations. We hope all affected recover speedily.

 

Michael Mathews

 

owner/manager and resident in Marrakech

 

 

Considering coming to Marrakech but worried about the political unrest in Middle East and North Africa?

 

Personal impressions

I was at the demo on Sunday 20 February morning in Marrakech and it was very peaceful. I was also out in Gueliz, the new town, in the afternoon, and my impression was that it was a different crowd, mostly bored, perhaps poorer disaffected young men out to take advantage and cause some damage.

 

None of the guests that we had staying at the Riad at the time were disturbed by what went on and none felt under any threat. All had been out during the day. One was in Jeema el Fna at midday and saw the demo protestors, all was calm. Again it seemed to be a different group that was rioting later on.

 

By Monday morning there was nothing to see, except a lot of police standing by. The souks were all open again. Some shops in Gueliz stayed closed. Most Moroccans are shocked by what happened in the afternoon.

 

The courts have been quick to deal with the rioters. The demonstrators have been allowed to continue. There are daily demonstrations in Rabat and that has been the case for a long time. They are unemployed graduates who just want the government to find them jobs. They are no cause for alarm. There are further demos talked of, and we can expect the same approval for the demonstrators but speedy action for rioters.

 

Analysis

Some of the Western media has been alarmist of their analysis, particularly regards Morocco. However there is now a lot of informed analysis, both by Western and Arabic experts as well as a wealth of blogs from ordinary people. It has given us all a greater understanding of what is going on in North Africa and the Middle East, and in the West’s complicity in maintaining the status quo. People here are very proud that their fellow Arabs have risen up, but also very clear it is not a path for Morocco, at least not yet whilst the King is making moves to reform.

 

The King is extremely popular here. He has done a lot for poor and the disadvantaged. There are a lot of development projects under way. Most people seem willing to let him try to change things, a few want to push him harder. There is a business and ruling elite which is disliked. There is nowhere near the dislike of the regime as in Tunisia, Egypt or Libya. But even the King acknowledges there must be change. Activists are presenting it as a wake-up call, not a demand for regime change.

 

Your safety

There is no targeting of tourists nor anger towards them, so don’t be fearful on that part. If you are in Morocco at the time of any disturbances, the Moroccan police are extremely vigilant about the safety of tourists. As you have to fill in a landing card on arrival and at each subsequent accommodation, your whereabouts are always known by the police. We will be ready to support you if there are any difficulties.

 

Cancellations

Unless your Government Foreign Office advises not to travel then it is OK. As far as I am aware no European or Western governments have advised against travelling. Our position is that any cancellation before FO advice not to travel will be treated as a guest cancellation and subject to our cancellation payment provisions. If governments do advise not to travel then we will offer a postponement to a later time. Please ensure you take out travel insurance, and follow FO travel advice.

 

Footnote

Personally I feel privileged to be in a part of the world that is finally waking up and speaking up against their oppression. Of course some other people would have a different perception of being around an uprising ( and as yet we do not have that here), and none of us would want to be caught up in what is going on in Libya.

Hope this re-assures you, and we will keep guests who are coming here informed if the situation changes

 

Michael

Owner/manager and resident in Marrakech


Return to the main news page



Travelife Sustainability Award

We are delighted to have been awarded the Travelife GOLD Award for Sustainability in Tourism , the first to be awarded in Morocco.

 

Find out more by clicking on the logo below.

 

Travelife Gold Award

Sustainable Tourism


We, Michel and Michael and the staff, try to run our Riad in a sustainable manner, mindful of our environmental, economic and social responsibilities.

Testimonials


Read what Lonely Planet, Conde Nast, National Geographic and, most importantly, our own guests think of Riad al Massarah.

Marrakech | Excursions


Close enough for a long weekend, ideal for a few days before or after a trek in the Atlas or a trip to the desert.

Diary


Find out what is happening when and where in the City and surrounding area.
Privacy policy | Terms and conditions