« Je n'irai pas à Marrakech cet été »
Depuis le début de l'année, le nombre de visiteurs français est en net recul au Maroc. Et l'attentat de Sousse ne va pas arranger les choses. Mais les professionnels du secteur se veulent rassurants.
Morocco’s overall development has given rise in the last few years to the birth and rapid development of a show business that somehow reminds that of Mexico or Cuba during the 1940s. There was obviously some entertainment in Marrakech under Hassan II but, as it is happening in other sectors, the organization and typology of the product offered is completely different.
The content of these shows is also different. The influence of Western music is quite obvious, and music genres such as Gnawa o belly-dance share the stage with pop singers, dancers and go-go’s o jazz bands. Pure fusion.
It should be said that the word « cabaret » does not mean the same as in the West. Moroccan cabarets are a sort of nightclubs where only traditional Moroccan music and dance are performed by excellent orchestras.
There are also several karaoke venues, since Moroccans love singing. There is a karaoke in almost every Moroccan city. In Marrakech, the best karaoke is called Cantobar, a club where you can sing but also have dinner and drink (alcohol is served). It is open until late.
But if you are looking for some rock and other, more dancing genres, you should visit venues like the Jad Mahal, in the luxurious Hivernage neighbourhood, and the African Chic or La Bodeguita in Gueliz. There you will enjoy live music performed every day by excellent bands.
For jazz lovers, there are also venues that offer shows in the style of 1940s cabarets: elegant restaurants with tables set around a dance floor and/or a stage where o show is performed during up to five hours. Customers alternate dancing with dinner and enjoying listening to the fine music.
Traditional genres, such as street entertainment, still coexist with these shows and many of the artists that used to work only in streets and squares now work double shifts: in the street during the day and in the theaters in the evening. The situation could be quite idyllic if it wasn’t for the fact that, as usual, employers fulfill certain characteristics more often than not: Moroccan immigrants back in their country or French who set up a nightclub with little money and even less idea of what that means artistically.
Staff (artists and non-artists) is often treated with disrespect and contracts and agreements are seldom fulfilled. Moreover, employees rarely get their social security rights and salaries are incredibly low if compared to the owner’s profits and acts of humiliation are much too common.
But, unfortunately, this does not only happen in the show business sector. It is the kind of development that has landed in Morocco, and it is here to stay.
Come to Marrakech and discover its nightlife. The Ochre City offers culture and a fascinating tradition, monuments and countless tourist attractions, as well as a delightful gastronomy and the widest range of shopping opportunities.
Moreover, hotels in Marrakech are of the highest quality and quite affordable, and particularly Marrakech riads, which are full of charm and very inexpensive. You can also stay in a wonderful villa in Marrakech, closer to the countryside, where its inhabitants will welcome you with open arms.
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The current global economic situation is hitting hard on the tourist industry. But that does not mean that the end of tourism is near! Quite on the contrary, it means that the sector is undergoing important structural changes and that new destinations are gaining more and more significance. This is the case of Marrakech, in Morocco, one of Europe’s and the US favourite destinations.
Exotic, inexpensive, diverse, with an extremely rich cultural heritage and conveniently located, Marrakech offers the opportunity of a complete, elegant and sumptuous holiday without having go bankruptcy. In fact, there are some ways to save a lot of money on your holidays in Marrakech and to find excellent vacation deals for your stay in the Ochre City. Here are three simple but extremely useful tips that will help you
First of all, it is extremely important that you plan ahead in order to save money both in your trip and in your accommodation. Most national European airlines travel to Marrakech, and there are also quite a few low-cost airlines that land in the city’s airport. The sooner you book your flights, the cheaper the price will be and the more chances you will have to find great deals. Also, when booking your accommodation, book in advance: many hotels and riads in Marrakech suggest deals that need to be confirmed with several weeks in advance and that run out rather quickly.
Second, spend some time on the internet to find the best prices on your intended spending, be it accommodation, flights, food, excursions, shows, etc. There are several sites that offer excellent packages that will save you a lot of money, in contrast with buying each product or service separately. These websites suggest excellent accommodation, day-trips, car rental, tickets for shows and plenty of other services at very competitive prices, as well as lots of very useful information. You should know that prices keep changing quite frequently, so it is advisable to keep checking those websites regularly in order to find the best deals.
Third, it may be an excellent idea to be flexible on your travel dates, since this will help you both avoid peak periods, when prices are considerably higher, and to be able to catch the best deals, which are often designed by travel agents and tourist resorts to attract travellers during their quiet periods. Some travel agents and online reservation centres have incredible accommodation deals. In fact, one online reservation centre has even introduced a revolutionary formula to attract tourists called « pay what you want », which allows you to put the price of your room and most services during specific dates. Also, many airlines will ask you if you are flexible on your travelling dates, so that they can fill up their regular flights or arrange their charter flights to round off their numbers.
I hope these three tips will help you find the best deals to visit this wonderful city. Hotels in Marrakech are of the highest quality and quite affordable, and particularly Marrakech riads, which are full of charm and very inexpensive. You can also stay in a wonderful villa in Marrakech, closer to the countryside, where its inhabitants will welcome you with open arms.
Taxing is said to be the high-risk sport tourists most popularly practise in Marrakech. Even if you are a person who is cautious, you should know that it is impossible to avoid venturing into Marrakech’s traffic, because buses and citizen who drive their own private cars are equally reckless. So you have to choose, either to go on foot through the hot streets of Marrakech or to stay in your hotel leafing through a magazine.
In any case, taxis are a part of the city that, in my opinion, no one truly interested in known the true spirit of Marrakech should miss. Their world is a kind of parallel universe; they are mobile spaces in which, when you enter, you cannot help asking yourself: « Will I get out? »; where, when suffering the impact produced after the brakes are slammed, you think: « Will I die? »; where, with every second marked on our watches, we wonder « Will I get to visit the Koutoubia? »
There are two types of taxis in Marrakech, namely « grand » or large taxis, and « petit » or small taxis. « Grand » taxis are usually old Mercedes with permission (but not necessarily with capacity) to carry up to 6 or 7 people. They have no taximeter, so you need to negotiate the price of the ride before entering, and this is why many people do not recommend their use, since taxis drivers in the Ochre City have a reputation for being tourist-swindlers. Probably the best option is to take what are called « petit » taxis, usually Seat Panda, Fiat Punto or Peugeot 205, which can carry 3 people; and they do have taximeters. Meter starts at 1,6 dirhams (0,15 approx.) and at 2,40 Dh. (0,25 approx.) during the night.Minimum fare is 6 dirhams (0,60 ). With these prices, it is hard not to ask oneself if it is not the tourists who swindle the Moroccan taxi drivers, even if the law is on their side.
From the airport to the city centre fares are different: 50 dirhams per person. From the city centre to the airport, however, you can ask for the taximeter.
Do not hesitate to ask the driver to stop the vehicle if he refuses to start the taximeter once you are on the move, and do not get surprised during the journey if the driver stops several times to buy cigarettes, pick up something from his place, fill the tank with petrol or simply start chatting with a colleague. Remember that this is Morocco: if you are not a millionaire you must share everything, taxis included. It is also perfectly normal to stop along the way to pick up another user and, thus, a fellow traveller.
It is cheaper to stop taxis in the street tan to take them at a taxi rank or stand, especially if these are located near tourist sites, where taxi drivers can refuse to put the meter on and can ask you an amount three times higher than that of a regular journey. Whenever you want to stop a taxi, raise your arm and point with your index finger towards the direction you want to go to, so that the driver will know if it is the same direction where the users he is carrying are heading to.
Once you are inside the taxi, breathe deeply, enjoy the adventure and remember that things such as working seat belts, windows that open or the possibility of installing a baby car seat are rather impossible utopias in Marrakech.
So, come to Marrakech and enjoy its food and entertainment, its history and historical sites, beautiful gardens and museums, the great Marrakech hotels and, most of all, its warm and hospitable people and its laid back, stress-free way of life, including that offered by its « adventurous » driving. Stay in one of the countless typical Marrakech riads or in a villa in Marrakech, where you will enjoy the charm and elegance of this city in an absolutely incomparable decor and where you will get whichever alternative transport you may need. Enjoy the ride!
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