Beyond the earthquake – Morocco awaits

A personal account

Nuno heads up our community and sustainability commitments, considering the positive impact that we can have as a business by supporting and giving back to local communities and ensuring we manage the environmental and social impact of travel. Portuguese and living in Morocco, he has years of experience consulting with impact-driven organisations internationally, helping them create strong, forward-looking plans and assisting them in their implementation. With such a wealth of experience, it was interesting to learn from him what being in the thick of a humanitarian crisis was like as a devastating earthquake hit the Atlas mountains in September 2023.

A great feeling of solidarity

“As I sit down to digest my feelings of the last weeks, my first thought is gratitude. First, I am grateful that our team, partners, and clients were unharmed. But beyond this relief, I’m struck by the profound lessons we’ve gleaned from the collective response to this natural disaster.

In the hours that followed the earthquake, most of our team filled their cars with essential goods and drove up the mountains, eager to lend a helping hand where we could. It was heartwarming how people from all corners of Morocco rallied to help the affected communities. It might have been an unprecedented burst of solidarity, but I was not surprised – it’s part of Moroccan DNA.

Help on the ground

As life in Marrakech swiftly recovered its rhythm, we continued helping local villages through Simo, our ground logistics specialist, and his tireless daily raids. We supported our partner hotels, such as Kasbah Bab Ourika, Olinto and others, who have created funding sites to help the victims in their respective regions. We also contributed to non-profit organisations working hard in the field, such as Afoulki Pour Les Femmes. They are providing direct relief help to the isolated communities in Al Haouz, which were most affected by the earthquake.

Across the Strait of Gibraltar, our team in Portugal couldn’t stand idle. They rallied and gathered essential goods that were sent to affected villages. Again, I was not surprised – it’s part of Portuguese DNA. This is truly an epic connection!

Today, most villages and people in the affected areas have found a semblance of stability and are focused on what lies ahead. Contrary to some media narratives, the prevailing sentiment is one of hope. Of course, many questions still linger, but they do not cast a shadow on the sweet smell of optimism in the air. 

Building for the future

As we gaze into the future, we want to support the country’s recovery. Tourism is a vital lifeline to the Moroccan economy and essential in helping local communities, and we recognise the weight of our industry’s responsibility. Now is the time to join forces and look to the future. As we still receive numerous heartwarming messages from loyal clients, partners and friends, we know there’s only one way: forward. 

Thank you for fueling our epic fire.”

Nuno – head of sustainability.

Cover picture credit: Alice Hunter Morrison