Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Service to Tinghir from Fez Airport

Moroccan low-cost airline Air Arabia Maroc has expanded its Fez-Errachidia bus service by 135 km to reach Tinghir in the region of Draa-Tafilalt

The updated bus service will also stop at Goulmima, a city in the province of Errachidia.

Air Arabia has said that the new service “marks an additional step in the continuing support that the company offers to develop tourism in Morocco.” The company pointed out that this service would also increase accessibility to previously hard-to-reach regions.

The shuttle bus services are provided by Air Arabia Express.

Tinghir is the perfect destination from which to explore the Todra Gorge. Situated on the east side of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Todra Gorge is recognised around the world as one of the most spectacular canyons, where over the millennia the Todra and Dades rivers have carved out layers of rock, giving rise to canyons 300 metres (980 ft) high but in some places only 10 metres (33 ft) wide. After leaving the gorge. the river widens, developing into an oasis edged with the red ochre of the desert.

The gorge, though in a remote area of Morocco, is a popular tourist destination and has been outfitted over the years with hiking paths and a well-maintained dirt road that visitors can walk along, though they must share it with mules and other pack animals.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Flights Marrakech Krakow Brings Record Polish Tourists

According to the office of the Moroccan National Tourist Board (ONMT) in Warsaw, the number of Polish tourists visiting Morocco last June saw a surge of 70% compared to the same period the previous year

The ONMT delegate in Warsaw, Rachid Ennaciri, said that this 70% performance in June alone, exceeding 4,500 visitors, is the best ever recorded in the Polish tourist market.

This gradual increase is attributed to the promotional campaign of the Morocco destination initiated by the ONMT on the Polish market, said Ennaciri, pointing out that three Polish television channels (TVN, TVN Style and TVP 3) produced documentaries

The ONMT and the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair have entered into a partnership agreement to serve Marrakech from Krakow with two flights a week (Monday and Friday) giving Polish tourists the possibility of having city breaks in Marrakech and Fez.

One of the last times Morocco saw a surge in Polish tourists was when Suzanna Clarke's book, A House in Fez, was translated into Polish. (See more here)

For our Polish readers!

Co byście powiedzieli, gdyby brodaty notariusz wręczył wam akt kupna domu wykaligrafowany na papirusie zupełnie niezrozumiałym dla was pismem? Albo gdyby zatrudniony przez was stolarz okazał się fundamentalistą? A jeśli do tego wszystkiego musielibyście strzec się dżinnów? To wszystko, a nawet więcej, może was spotkać gdy kupicie dom w Maroku!

Dom w Fezie to prawdziwa historia dwójki australijskich dziennikarzy, którzy straciwszy głowę dla plątaniny barwnych uliczek i zaułków arabskiej medyny, w porywie szalonego uczucia postanawiają… kupić dom w sercu Fezu – najstarszego i jednego z najpiękniejszych miast Północnej Afryki.

Suzanna Clarke z humorem opowiada o perypetiach związanych z renowacją trzystuletniego riadu, potyczkach z marokańską biurokracją i specyfice pracy miejscowych fachowców. Opisuje uroki tętniącej życiem medyny i relacje z nowymi sąsiadami. "Dom w Fezie" to klimatyczna, pełna kolorów podróż po meandrach marokańskiej kultury. Miejscami zabawny, miejscami wzruszający zapis codziennych spotkań z Marokańczykami zaskakuje, uczy, a także pozwala inaczej spojrzeć na siebie i własną kulturę.

Propozycja dla wszystkich, którzy pokochali Maroko i tych, którzy dopiero planują się tam wybrać


A Trans-Maghreb TGV ~ Feasibility Study

The possibility of taking a train journey across the Maghreb is back on the table. A TGV link between Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria could become one of the great train trips

Nothing is certain, but the project to rehabilitate the Trans-Maghreb train is underway. The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) is holding the 3rd ordinary session of the commission to oversee the feasibility study of this ambitious project.

The four day session will be devoted to the evaluation of the technical and financial offers presented by consulting firms that participated in the invitation to tender. The study is financed to the tune of $1.7 million by the African Development Bank (ADB).


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Malaysia - Morocco ~ Now Visa Free

The Moroccan government and its Malaysian counterpart have signed an agreement to allow citizens of both countries to travel back and forth without visa requirements
Morocco's Ambassador to Malaysia Mohammed Reda Benkhaldoun and Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim

The partial abolition of the visa agreement was signed by Foreign Affairs Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim on behalf of the Malaysian government and the Kingdom of Morocco's Ambassador to Malaysia Mohammed Reda Benkhaldoun on behalf of Morocco.

Under the new agreement, Malaysian and Moroccan passport holders who are travelling for business or social visits with valid documents are allowed to enter and exit both countries without a visa for a maximum period of 90 days.

Malaysian passport holders, including diplomatic passport holders, will be able to enter Morocco freely for a maximum period of 90 days, for official or social purposes without the requirement of a visa.

The visa waiver is also applicable to transit passengers travelling through both countries.

In an official statement, the Malaysian ministry said the agreement is expected to further enhance bilateral relations between the two Muslim countries.

It will also enhance economic, trade, investment and tourism cooperation between both countries.

The agreement will take effect after all requirements have been fulfilled by both countries.

Morocco established diplomatic ties with Malaysia in 1963.

Morocco exports canned fish, food, fertilisers, plastics and chemical products to Malaysia and imports mainly electric and electronic goods.

Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Morocco stood at about US$200-US$300 million in 2015. 2,927 Moroccans visited Malaysia in 2016 and the number is expected to increase gradually following the agreement.


Circus in Salé

National Circus School Shems'y in Salé on 19th, 20th and 21st - Admission is free!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Amazigh Festival - Recommendations

After the closing of the Thirteenth International Festival of Amazigh Culture in Fez, the organisers issued a call to consolidate diversity and reform school curricula in order to build intercultural and inter-civilisational understanding as ramparts against the rise of all extremisms
Hadda Ouakki  at Bab Makina

The thirteenth international festival of Amazigh culture, which was organised under the patronage of His Majesty the King, in Fès from the 14th to 16th of July, on the theme "Amazighity and Cultural Diversity in the Face of Extremism", came to a close early morning on Monday.

This festival was organised by the Fes-Saiss Association and the South South Centre in partnership with the Fes-Meknes Region and the Esprit Foundation of Fès. It was a resounding success at the academic, artistic and organisational levels. It stressed the positive impact of intercultural dialogue and the consolidation of cultural diversity on living together and peace.

Participants at the international forum discussed relevant and varied issues, including aspects of Amazigh culture in North Africa; the importance of mixing between Amazigh, African and Mediterranean cultures; the fight against extremism and violence in the region; The role of art and culture in the struggle against extremism; the role of intellectuals and civil society in the resolution of conflicts and the fight against violence.

This forum highlighted the contribution of Amazigh culture to the consolidation of peace, dialogue, and diversity. It advocated making cultural diversity a lever for integration and sustainable development.

More than a hundred intellectuals, artists and musicians representing different regions of Morocco, and thirteen friendly countries, participated in this festival, which also included book exhibitions, art and Amazigh carpets, with round tables and workshops on painting, writing and storytelling.

The third musical evening of the festival ended last Sunday in a festive atmosphere. Thousands of festival-goers came to the beautiful Bab Makina, to vibrate to the Mediterranean rhythms. Italian artist Laura Conti, Hadda Ouakki of the Middle Atlas and the great star of the modern Moroccan song, Abdelhafid Douzi, made it unforgettable evening.

Laura Conti was a crowd favourite

Participants in the international Forum made the following recommendations:

1) Emphasise the central role of the Amazigh culture as vectors of the universal values of living together
2) Strengthen and support the values common to cultures and civilisations
3) Establish intercultural and inter-civilisational understanding as a barrier against the rise of all extremism.
4) Strengthen gender equality in order to foster social integration.
5) Reform and modernise school and university curricula to encourage living together and respect for diversity
6) Teaching interaction and exchange among civilisations
7) Teaching the history of religions, in order to compare religions in their historical contexts
8) Emphasise the values of peace and coexistence.
9) Separate religion from politics, and consolidate the separation of powers.
10) Strengthen the democratic culture and values of freedom, with a view to achieving global and sustainable development.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Amazigh Cultural Festival Ends on a High Note

The International Festival of Amazigh Culture closed last night with an over capacity crowd jammed into the beautiful Bab Makina venue

Participants at the Festival's forum sessions that we spoke with during last night's concert were united in judging the Festival a huge success, with lively debates and thought provoking addresses.

Congratulations are due to the Festival organisers; in particular Fatima Sadiqi and Moha Ennaji.

Moha Ennaji at last night's concert

First up at the final concert was the dynamic powerhouse Hadda Ouakki, who was greeted warmly by the audience and delivered her set with her four dancers with gusto. It was pure Amazigh and showed just how alive the ancient culture is today.

Hadda Ouakki

Next up was Laura Conti, who was welcomed back to the Festival. She first performed at the Festival back in 2015. With a great voice and the skills of an actor she inhabited the music and received a rapturous response from the audience.

Laura Conti in full flight

Conti's songs were skilful arrangements by guitar maestro Maurizio Verna, whose performance gave her the space to bring the songs alive.

The three piece group Eivadòr (Golden River) is named after the old Caravanserai name for the Orco River, famous for the extraction of gold.

Guitar maestro Maurizio Verna,

The final performance was from a crowd favourite, Abdelhafid Douzi. The singer and actor, now in his thirties, appeared on stage and the crowd surged forward, past security to the front of the stage. The sea of waving arms, smart phones and cameras held aloft made glimpsing the singer a little difficult and photography impossible, but the music told the story and the crowd rewarded Douzi with a tsunami of applause.

Halfway through the concert there was a large crowd locked out

The only criticism of the evening was the Festival's underestimation of the size of the crowd. Numbers were so great that the doors of Bab Makina had to be shut to prevent the hundreds still waiting outside to enter. Not only is overcrowding unpleasant, causing many people to stand for the duration, but it raises serious safety issues.

Despite those problems, the Festival was judged an overwhelming success and showed just how tangible "intangible cultural heritage" can be.

Photos & Video; Sandy McCutcheon