Saturday, January 24, 2015

Security in Morocco ~ Travel Forums Reflect Concerns

Concerns about security issues and recent events in France, Belgium and Germany have fuelled travellers' fears about safety. The most asked question, in relation to Morocco is: "is it safe to visit?"

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, many tourists wishing to visit soon in Morocco solicit
the opinions of several of online discussion sites such as TripAdvisor or Fodor to overcome their fears. The View from Fez also receives frequent questions on security and solo travel in Morocco.

The question that comes up most often is: "Can I get safely to Morocco after the French
attacks?" This is despite the blindingly obvious fact that Paris is some 3000 kilometres away!

Thankfully, most responses rightly point out that the attacks took place in France and terrorist risks relate more to France than Morocco. They also point out that Moroccans strongly condemn the recent attacks and has a valued reputation as a safe hospitable destination.

Other potential tourists seem anxious because they wrongly equated Moroccan people as supporters of ISIS. It can not be stated more clearly - the Moroccan government and the population despise radical groups and Moroccan Security has an ongoing and successful campaign against dissident elements.

On other sites as Routard.com, users are unanimously reassuring potential tourists by pointing out Morocco's stability and and control of security issues.

While it is true that nobody is able to predict where terrorists will strike, foreigners on
holiday or living in Morocco praise the efficiency of joint police and military patrols. See our story on Morocco's enhanced security plan "Hadar" HERE

Unfortunately, some foreign governments security warnings appear to be out of touch with the reality on the ground. While it is understandable that governments err on the side of caution, some are less than realistic in their assessments of conditions in Morocco.

The Australian "Smart Traveller" website that, despite recent events, has not been updated since October last year,  warns:

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Morocco because of the threat of terrorist attack against Western interests. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

There is a possibility of retaliatory attacks against Western targets in Morocco. The Moroccan authorities have warned of an increased threat linked to the number of Moroccans belonging to international terrorist organisations operating in Syria and Iraq.

We have received reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by tourists. Tourist areas have been attacked in the past.

You should monitor the media for reports of protest activity and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations as they may turn violent.

You should exercise particular caution on weekends, including in the period surrounding Friday prayers.

There is a general threat of kidnapping against Westerners in North Africa. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times and especially when travelling in southern and border areas of Morocco.

As an Australian resident in Morocco pointed out, "There have been no kidnappings of tourists in Morocco. However, the warning that appears to be the view from the embassy in Paris, it certainly is out of touch with the reality here in Morocco. Maybe they should come see for themselves."


In contrast, the American government travel warning website, lists problems in Libya, Mali, Syria. Ukraine and other hotspots, but makes no mention of Morocco as a country where tourists are more at risk than they are in any place.

Common sense dictates that travellers should always be alert but this applies just as much to Sydney, New York, London or Paris as it is does to Marrakech. Have a safe trip!

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We were in Fez with our granddaughters and family from Dec 22 to 26 and felt very safe. We had a fabulous time and hope to return next year.

Piper Smith said...

Thanks webmaster for aware us about this concern. Yes, I also had a safe and exciting trip at Morocco two months ago with my friends. That time we did lot of fun and enjoyed the mountain trekking. In fact if we get another chance definitely will go there for have a trip again.