Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tourists Flock Back to Fez

After a very quiet Ramadan and September, the shopkeepers in the Medina of Fez are heaving a sigh of relief. Mustapha, a tea-house owner, says, "Al Humdullilah! The tourists are back!"

There are smiles on faces right across the Medina. Even the very slow property market is picking up, with sales to French and English buyers either signed and sealed, or awaiting completion. "It has been slow," one real estate agent told The View from Fez, "but things are picking up again."

Restoration and renovation work is also continuing. While one English couple were complaining of the inevitable delays that are part of the process, Nordeen a London based Algerian, is very happy that the work on his new guesthouse is making progress, "It takes time, but then I expected that," he said.

The return of large tour groups, while causing congestion in some parts of the Medina, is good news for everyone. The trickle-down effect means that many people, other than just the tour companies and riad owners, benefit. Small shops, fruit and vegetable sellers and shoe cleaners are all reporting an upturn in business.

Plenty of liquids in the warm weather!
 The weather has also played a part in the optimistic mood. Autumn has arrived and while the days are still in the high twenties, the evening temperatures are cool and pleasant. This is expected to continue in the next couple of weeks.

Donald and Rebecca enjoying "nus-nus"
 Rebecca Wright, from Australia, was particularly upbeat about Fez as a great place to visit at this time of year. "It is absolutely perfect - not too hot, in fact, just right! " she said. 'This is my second time in the Medina and it certainly won't be my last! It's endlessly fascinating!"

From the colder climes of Scotland, Donald McKay was not complaining about the heat. "The weather is fantastic - slightly hotter than home. And what an experience getting lost in the Medina." Like Rebecca, he says he will be back again.

Popular sites can be conjested - but the locals are happy
 Hopefully the return of large numbers of tourists will continue to grow and may even reach the levels experienced before the uncertainties of the "Arab Spring" and the global financial crisis took effect.


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