The city of Ouarzazate, nicknamed “The door of the desert,” is known for its surrounding oases and fortresses and is an international destination for movie makers.
Rabat – The city of Ouarzazate, southern Morocco, is set to host the eighth International Forum for Solidarity Tourism (FITS) from January 25 to 30.
The event will be themed “Climate resilience, sustainable development, and solidarity tourism in the oases of the world: solidarity tourism for sustainable development.”
Solidarity tourism is a type of tourism that aims to create economic opportunities for the local community and a positive cultural exchange between the guests and the hosts through one-on-one interaction.
The eighth FITS aims to strengthen advocacy for the safeguarding of oases across the world and to develop the solidarity tourism model. The forum also aims to promote sustainable local development and exchange of good practice between the participants.
The meeting is an opportunity to strengthen international tourism networks, and to formulate and implement action plans.
Another objective of the event is promoting Ouarzazate as a tourist destination, for its rich cultural and architectural heritage.
The Moroccan city is known for its oases and fortresses, including the canyons of the Todgha river and the castle of Ait-Ben-Haddou. It is a well-known tourist attraction and plays a part in promoting other tourist destinations in the Draa-Tafilalet region.
More than 500 participants from around 30 countries will take part in the event. The attendees are set to discuss ways to develop sustainable and responsible tourism.
The event will include several conferences, panels, and workshops. It will also include presentations of sustainable management models of oases in the provinces of Ouarzazate and Es-Smara, about 880 kilometers south of Ouarzazate.
The program includes other activities such as caravans in the oases of the region, a handicraft exhibition, a photo exhibition of oases of the world, cultural evenings, and open-air film projections, along with a visit to Morocco’s Noor solar plant.
The meeting is organized by the World Tourism Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and UNESCO, in partnership with Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism, and other institutions.
Oases on the road to extinction
Oases represent one of the main tourist attractions in the southern regions of Morocco. However, the effects of climate change have diminished the number of oases in the country.
In December 2019, environmental organization Greenpeace released a documentary tackling the endangerment of Moroccan oases. The short film documented the challenges of people living in oases.
The documentary makers also launched a petition entitled “Protect Moroccan Oases,” calling for the protection of these endangered areas by acting quickly and transitioning to renewable energies.
Oases are absolutely necessary for life in the desert and are characterized by their biological diversity, inhabitants, and culture, says Greenpeace.
Agricultural and livestock activities in oases are declining, however, as a result of the impact high temperatures have on water resources.