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Morocco: Trampling Marakkesh

Marakkesh is regaining its days of glory as the Mecca of tourists. With new mentions in international media, what do Moroccan bloggers have to say about the influx of tourists into their country? Here are the views from two of Morocco's louder bloggers.

Laila Lalami is appalled with the damage some tourists bring to ancient sites.

“The New York Times has a travel piece on Marrakesh, which I fear will result in even more tourists crowding the city. When we were there last spring, I saw a moronic British tourist sticking his ass out of one of the windows of the Ben Youssef Medersa. The floors of the seminary's student rooms were damaged by all the activity, and one of the guides kept touching the exquisite plaster work in the inner courtyard with his bare hands. (The photo above gives you a small idea of what you'll see on any given day at the famous medersa.) The tile floors at the Bahia palace were completely falling apart, and people had no regard for the artifacts. The Menebhi palace was also starting to show signs of wear. Sad,” she laments.

Meanwhile, A Moro in America (Ar) counters the argument saying that targeting the ‘right’ type of tourist will bring much needed money to boost the tourism industry and other trades linked to it.

تواصل جريدة نيويورك تايمز تغطيتها للمدن السياحية في المغرب و خصوصا مدينة مراكش. في مقال جديد بعنوان ٣٦ ساعة في مراكش تدرج الصحافية سيث شيروود ،كما ورد في سابق مقالاتها، وصف و عناوين لرياضات و متاجر و مطاعم و حمامات مغربية تقليدية كلها منتقاة بعناية فائقة. هذا المقال الوردي و الجميل عن مدينة مراكش و العديد من مرافقها المشهورة أو المكنونة للسياح “المهمين جدا” يحتل الان المرتبة الأولى للمقالات السياحية الأكتر إرسالا من طرف قراء نيويورك تايمز، و المرتبة السابعة بين المقالات العامة الأكتر قراءة على الجريدة علي الإطلاق.
“The New York Times continues its coverage of tourism towns in Morocco, especially in Marakkesh. In a new article, entitled 36 Hours in Marakkesh, journalist Seth Sherwood lists and describes sports, shops, restaurants and traditional Moroccan Hamams with great care. This dreamy and beautiful article on Marakkesh and a number of its famous facilities for ‘very interested’ tourists is now rated as the highest tourism article being emailed among readers of the New York Times and is the seventh most read article in the paper overall,” writes Adilski.
مع الِعلم أن هذه التغطية ليست بالصدفة ولكنها جاءت مع قدوم مستثمرين غربيين، خاصة أمريكيين و بريطانيين يتكلمون الإنجليزية و لهم علاقات متينة مع رجالات الإعلام الغربيين الدين باستطاعتهم
بجرة قلم التأتير في أذواق القراء وإتجاهاتهم الاستهلاكية. و في هذا السياق، يجب التدكير أن أحسن طريقة لتسويق المنتوج المغربي هو التنويع في إستقطاب الرساميل الدولية مما سينعكس على التنويع في جلب مستهلكين جدد، خصوصا الأمريكيين، البريطانيين، الكنديين، و الأستراليين. على عكس الفرنسيين الذين يمثلون غالبية السياح القادمين إلى المغرب، فالسياح الأنكلوسكسونيين هم أكثر إنفاقا، وبالتالي أكثر إنعاشا للسياحة و جل الصناعات المرتبطة بها
“It should be noted that this coverage isn't by sheer coincidence as it coincides with the arrival of Western investors, especially Americans and Britons who speak English and who have strong relations with Western media personalities who can shape their readers tastes and consumption patterns with their articles. Taking all this into consideration, we should remind you that the best way to market the Moroccan product is by attracting international investment, which will in turn attract new consumers, especially Americans, Britons, Canadians and Australians. Compared to the French, who make up the largest number of tourists arriving in Morocco, Anglo Saxon tourists spend more, and thereby are more beneficial to tourism and the industries related to it,” he explains.

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