Morocco holiday, off the beaten track

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2019: 9 Sep
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Morocco holiday, off the beaten track

Environment

All our guides and drivers in Morocco are local people. We believe that it is vital to work with local experts for our tours, firstly as they will be able to offer an insight into the fragile mountain, coastal and semi-desert environments; secondly to enable any profits to be ploughed back into the community.

All our tours are based on individuals or a small group - we feel that this offers a more personal experience and therefore minimises the impact on the rural environment and on the local Berber people. During the walks our guides will encourage good practice such as keeping to paths and avoiding any actions that may assist erosion.

We ask all our customers to respect the environment. Litter, in particular, is damaging to the fragile mountain environment and we encourage people to take their litter home. Of course, we also encourage visitors to reduce their impact by using refillable containers and minimum packaging where possible, particularly plastics.

To ensure the best possible service to our customers we engage services that make as low an impact as possible on the environment and local culture, whilst helping to generate long term employment and benefits for local people. Raising awareness of the culture, politics and economy of areas visited encourages responsible tourism practice and indirectly aides the preservation of the Kingdom's most precious resources. We take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and strive to make improvements where we can; there is always more work to be done but little by little one travels far. We have a policy of always using local suppliers wherever we can, so as to bring as much income to the local area as possible

The following applies to our UK AND Morocco partner offices - We work under the principles of reduce, reuse then recycle. We are committed to continuous improvement in all areas within this policy. Paper: We use both sides of the paper before recycling. Recycling: We recycle as many materials as possible including paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, cans and plastic. Energy Use: We turn off (not leave on standby) electrical items overnight or during holidays. Purchasing: We buy recycled / biodegradable products, including recycled printer toners, where possible and refill containers.

Community

Most of the riads and hotels we use are locally owned or are partnerships with a European owner and a Moroccan National. All staff members at these properties are local and all food and materials are sourced locally.

All our team will have been recruited from the local community, not only does this support the local economy but it allows you to have interaction with people who know the area well so that you can contribute fully and learn more; we have always preferred to employ local guides with reasonable English rather than bringing in an outsider whose English may be excellent but whose intimate knowledge of the local geography and economy is limited.

As stated above, all our guides and drivers in Morocco are local people. Your guide will, of course, advise you on local sensibilities - urban Morocco can be quite liberal in places but the Berber people are very conservative. As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage and knees should be covered at all times, particularly when you are passing through remote villages.

Local staff are also encouraged to undertake courses as and when applicable. e.g. The Mule Care Initiative Workshops held at the beginning of March in Imlil, sponsored by Expedition Providers Association & The Donkey Sanctuary.

Through our long term partnerships in Morocco we have been able to support and encourage volunteering for local causes such as conservation projects. For example, the Association des Bassins d’Imlil for the Protection & Sustainable Development of the Valley Populations around Imlil & the Toubkal National Park, Solidarity & Preservation of Cultural Heritage in the village of Demnate. We also facilitated the opportunity for our local staff to support an initiative alongside Elaine Moran, a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Demnate. Elaine has the funding to provide materials to repair and maintain pathways but needs manual labour and transportation for work crew which is where our partner agency can help.

Our partner agency in Morocco regularly donates money to local causes. This is done on a case by case basis and is generally not by making monetary donations to large organisations but more by assisting local people/families at times of need. e.g. providing a sheep to a family who cannot afford one at the time of Eid El Kebir, purchasing flight tickets to enable a student to attend study placement awarded overseas, paying for medical treatment or prescription medication, purchasing clothing for a person to attend interviews and obtain employment, offering temporary accommodation/purchasing meals for the homeless as well as initiatives for staff welfare and contributions to local animal and children's charities.

Your visit to the Atlas Mountains will give you a taste of the incredible hospitality of Morocco as well as contributing indirectly to the local economy.

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