Friday, May 20, 2011
Moroccan News Briefs
Marrakech feels the pain
Morocco has seen around 23,000 cancellations in holiday bookings since the bomb blast in Marrakech on April 28.
Speaking during a visit to London, the Moroccan minister of tourism Yassir Znagui said 23,000 people who were due to visit Marrakech in the next three months had cancelled their holiday – around 2.8% of the total flow of people predicted to visit the city.
Znagui insisted that this remained a relatively”weak” number of cancellations, which “shows we can afford to be positive about the future”, he said.
He added that security had been tightened following the attack, which took place in the main square of the Moroccan city, killing 15 people, at least 10 of them foreigners.
“More money has been invested as a result of the explosion, in improving security measures. Everything is being watched closely,” he said.
Znagui also revealed that the national tourist office was planning a series of trips for UK agents in a bid to reassure the UK market that the country remained a safe destination.
Meanwhile Morocco could soon be attracting a wholly different type of UK customer, as it reaches out to the mass package holiday market.
A number of large beach resorts are being built across the country, which should be completed by 2013/14
4.35million granted to Morocco to fight climate change
This week the World Bank's Board of Directors approved a US$ 4.35million grant to Morocco to increase small farmers' resilience to climate change.
It said in a press release on Wednesday that the grant is designed to strengthen the capacity of institutions and farmers to integrate climate change adaptation measures in projects which are implemented under the Plan Maroc Vert.
The press release noted that the Government of Morocco will co-finance the grant with an investment of US$27 million.
The project "Integrating Climate Change in the Implementation of the Plan Maroc Vert" will finance climate change adaptation measures among small farmers in five regions of Morocco.
It will include a climate change adaptation component in about ten pilots, targeting about 2,500 small farmers, it said.
Morocco to get Fluorochemical Investment from India
Indian Conglomerate, Gujarat Fluorochemicals, intends to invest 8 million dollars in a mining project in the northern region of Taourirt.
The Indian company plans to build an integrated unit for extracting and transforming fluorosic acid, a key ingredient for making steel as well as optical flint used for especially extra low dispersion lenses used for cameras and telescopes, said the company’s Director General Dinesh Sardana.
This Morocco-Indian project provides for the production of 40,000 tons of this substance and the creation of around 150 direct jobs, Sardana added.
The projects, whose works will start next September, falls within the framework of a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, he said, adding that the ongoing feasibility studies amount to 200,000 dollars.
Gujarat Fluorochemicals is among the largest 100 Indian companies and has investment projects in China and the US.
Despite Protests the Mawazine Festival Opens Today
Since the terrorist attack on the Argana cafe in Marrakesh, the security services and police have been paying attention to the Mawazine Festival which opens in Rabat today. The main concerns will probably not be about terrorism, but rather protests by the February 20th movement who have been running a campaign against the festival, which they see as an overly opulent exercise in "bread and circuses' - the budget is said to be as high as $12 million. The protestors argue that money should be spent on services for the people.
Regular readers of The View from Fez may remember last year's controversy when Islamists attempted to ban Elton John (see story here).
This year artists, such as Lionel Richie, Amr Diab, Kanye West, and Shakira have been contacted by the February 20th movement asking them to stay away. The story has also made international news with prestigeous journals such as Foreign Policy examining the situation. This month there is an intesting piece in Foreign Policy by Laila Lalami.
What's in a Name?
When pop star Mariah Carey and her husband, Nick Cannon, announced the name of their newborn twins, people were expecting something different. They got more than they bargained for. "Monroe", for the girl was fine, but it was calling the little boy "Moroccan" that had people most bemused. With a surname of "Cannon" one might have expected a little thought. But no, a first name that is an adjective and a surname that is a noun has produced a "Moroccan Cannon". Poor kid.
Not to be outdone, a couple in Israel have grabbed the silly names spotlight by calling their child after a FaceBook button. Yes, they have called their offspring "Like". It could have been worse... have a look at facebook and see which buttons you think would have been an option... or you could simply click on "ignore".