On September 13, members of the luxury travel industry joined The Conscious Travel Foundation at The Montcalm Marble Arch in London to discuss how to best support Morocco following the devastating earthquake that took place on 8th September.
Hosted by sustainability author and journalist Juliet Kinsman, key representatives from the industry, who were due to be at the luxury travel show PURE in Marrakesh last weekend, held conversations on how to respond to a crisis, and how it is vital for Morocco to be seen to be back on its feet as soon as possible. The event raised nearly £10,000 to support charities on the ground in Morocco.
Speakers at the event included the former British Ambassador to Morocco, Thomas Reilly, and CEO of The PC Agency, Paul Charles, who shared takeaways on how travel agents and tour operators can advise customers travelling to Morocco, with many areas in the destination still safe and welcoming visitors. The panel also assessed where relief and support can be assigned to ensure it reaches communities and areas most in need.
There is an urgent need for immediate financial aid and there are a number of organisations on the ground directing relief to where it is most needed. These include Education for All which will need to rebuild their five of their six boarding houses for girls and The High Atlas Foundation.
Juliet Kinsman said, “Late last Friday night, Morocco experienced a 6.8-magnitude earthquake — since then the world has already seen other devastating natural disasters and it’s already falling out of the news cycle — at a time when aid is urgently needed. Instead of flying to Marrakech on Saturday for a week where many of us were due to be at PURE Life Experiences trade show, I decided to host this event #HowCanWeBeHelpful made possible by generous support from The PC Agency and Olivia Cryer of The Conscious Travel Foundation.
“We pulled together to raise funds for relief work and to pool our learnings on how we can help destinations in crisis in the short and long term — for Morocco, and for all destinations. Every disaster situation is different — but a few wisdoms are universal, and we’ll be sharing Guidelines for Action: What to Do and How to Think in a Moment of Crisis soon. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible to host a mini conference and fundraiser for Morocco in just a few days. It’s not about patting ourselves on the back right now — we just want to emphasise the power of our industry when we pull together, and I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of those who contributed to try and actually do something helpful to help the people of Morocco," Kinsman continued.
Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible to host a mini conference and fundraiser for Morocco in just a few days. It’s not about patting ourselves on the back right now — we just want to emphasise the power of our industry when we pull together.
Paul Charles, CEO & Founder of The PC Agency, said “As Morocco’s economy is dependent on its thriving tourism industry it’s incredibly important for visitors to be aware that travel to the destination is still safe and very possible. Foreign Office travel advice has not been changed. Despite this tragedy, Morocco will still offer as vibrant and exciting an experience as always, so communication of accurate and up to date information is key to ensuring the tourism industry continues to boom.”
Echoing this idea, Zina Bencheikh, Managing Director EMEA, Intrepid Travel, addressed the group via video from Morocco urging the travel industry to support the country by continuing to visit, "Of course, many people in the communities in Marrakech and the High Atlas have suffered unimaginable loss. But as one of tour amazing tour leaders Brahim told me, 'Morocco has just faced a natural disaster––we don't want to follow it with an economic disaster.'"
With communities of the Atlas Mountains having suffered devastating levels of destruction, ticket proceeds from last night’s event will go to the Intrepid Foundation, who will be matching all donations to give to the High Atlas Foundation and Education For All, supporting these communities that are located in the hardest-hit areas of the Atlas Mountains.
Following the event, the organisers of the event will be sharing a guideline with attendees on how the travel industry can respond to future crises, which we will share with you.
To donate directly to Intrepid Foundation’s emergency appeal: