Thursday, November 22, 2012

Autumn Tourism in Morocco

While the flow of visitors arriving in Morocco had been relatively steady over the last month, the numbers appear to have increased in the last couple of weeks. Tour groups from Europe as well a considerable number of families from South America, Australia and New Zealand have been arriving recently. Guest house owners in the Layoun and Rcif areas of the Fez Medina report being at full capacity and with many forward bookings. Visitors are taking advantage of the fact that autumn is a cool but beautiful time of year and after the recent rains the countryside is green for the first time in months.

A frozen cedar forest - photo Jearld Moldenhauer  - Dar Balmira Gallery 

The snowfalls in the High Atlas have abated for the moment and the roads have been cleared of the snow.

Recent visitors (pictured above and below), Amy from Australia and Saara from Finland, exploring the Fez Medina for the first time found it "awesome". They spent a couple of days shopping in the Medina before heading off on a day trip to the Roman ruins at Volubilis, lunch in Moulay Idriss and a visit to the granaries in Meknes. 

Booking Early

Michele Reeves from Plan-it-Fez says that October was a very busy month, and though the numbers of arrivals have slowed slightly, it remains steady. Recent arrivals have been from America, the UK and countries in South America and most had the foresight to book well in advance. Michele says that last year people were booking accommodation and tours at the last minute which caused problems with supplying vehicles. Now, however, she says people are booking for late November and December, well in advance. Culinary tours and day trips, she says, remain incredibly popular.

Aisha Bail (pictured above), who manages Riad Rcif, says that the last couple of months have been incredibly busy with guests flowing in from European countries (due to the discount flights). The interesting demographic change she has noticed is there have also been many South American vistiors from countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Columbia and Brazil. They have also had a growing number of tourists from the Scandinavian, Baltic and Eastern bloc countries including Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Other riad owners in the Layoun, next to Rcif, have reported an increase in visitors from the Indian subcontinent.

Aisha Bail agrees with Michele Reeves that there is a trend towards many people booking well in advance. Some, she says, as far ahead as August 2013. Like Michele Reeves, she welcomes this as it makes management so much easier.

False Guides

The problem that concerns Aisha Bail most is the new breed of sophisticated false guides on the trains. The View from Fez has reported on this before, but it is worth repeating the warning. According to Aisha, the men, posing as businessmen, get on the trains to Fez at Meknes or Casablanca, and then try to convince visitors that the riad they are staying at is not a good place. Other visitors say that the men act in pairs with one laying the ground work and a follow-up person backing up the stories of poor accommodation. They also try and convince people that where they have booked is a "dangerous" area of Fez. They then offer to act as their guide in Fez and find them "better" accommodation. Unfortunately, even though many false guides have been stopped in recent weeks, the men on the trains continue to evade the police.

More info: 
Plan-it Fez: email: Website: Tel: +212 (0) 678 549 482
Riad Rcif website
Rent a riad in Fez
Morocco Basics 


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