News Travel Tourism : Maroc What is the Impact of the Earthquake on Hiking Tour Specialists?
Nearly two weeks after the earthquake that struck Morocco, the tourism industry is gradually returning to normal. Eric Balian, CEO of hiking specialist Terres d'Aventure, notes a slight decrease in bookings, which is expected to subside as media coverage of the earthquake wanes.
"I have the feeling that the French have no intention of turning away from Morocco," adds Eric Balian. "Our approach is to openly explain to clients where they can go or not, to guide them effectively."
Exploring Alternatives in the Atlas Mountains On-site, Terres d'Aventure, a subsidiary of the Voyageurs du Monde group, has adjusted its plans for the High Atlas region, home to the country's highest peak, Mount Toubkal. "The Toubkal region is a significant area where we traditionally operate many trips in the summer. Today, we are not taking clients there anymore. The earthquake has destroyed villages, and some roads are still difficult to traverse. The impact on local populations is significant."
The high season for circuits in the High Atlas was coming to an end. TerDav is now scheduling its upcoming departures for the challenging ascent of Mount Toubkal in June 2024. The tour operator, along with its peers specializing in hiking and treks, is offering alternative options for travelers, such as exploring M'Goun, another summit standing over 4,000 meters high.
Regarding the Sahara, which is far from the earthquake's epicenter, itineraries remain unaffected. The Ouarzazate region and the Merzouga dunes, with their popular hikes starting in October, are located far from the disaster-stricken areas.
Recommendations for French Tour Operators Morocco ranks among the top 10 countries sold by Terres d'Aventure. It is primarily a winter destination for this brand within the Voyageurs du Monde group, which has a subsidiary in Marrakech.
Additionally, in August, Morocco was the 7th most sold destination by French travel agencies, according to the Orchestra barometer for L'Echo touristique.
At the beginning of the week, the Syndicate of Tour Operating Companies (Seto) relaxed its recommendations. For tours and excursions in the Atlas Mountains, the organization advises its 70 member tour operators to adjust "all itineraries." If such adjustments prove unfeasible, Seto recommends postponing trips. Regarding stays in Marrakech, the country's leading tourist hub, departures officially resumed on September 19, potentially with "excursion adjustments."
The earthquake that struck Morocco on September 8 resulted in approximately 3,000 deaths and extensive damage. Several public figures have recently called on tourists to avoid causing further hardship in Morocco by urging them not to abandon the destination. The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) has also released two videos to reassure industry professionals and their clients.