Desert hoteliers and individuals are offering free accommodation to foreign guests unable to return home amid the air and maritime travel suspension.
Members of Merzouga’s tourism industry announced the decision on Saturday, March 14, as the country canceled flights to European countries.
Moha Ouha, manager at Madu Riad, is one of the hotel owners offering free accommodation to tourists in the region.
“I decided to host tourists stuck in the region due to suspension of international travel,” Ouha told Morocco World News. “We are collaborating with the youth of the region working in the tourism sector to offer good accommodation to tourists stuck near us.”
“Generosity and hospitality are part of our Moroccan Amazigh (Berber) culture and traditions,” he added.
Others have engaged in the same initiative, opening up their riads, hotels, and even houses to host tourists in the desert community.
Tour guide Mohamed Karroui wrote on his Facebook account: “My house is open anytime for all European friends who are stuck in Morocco. Waiting for you.”
“We are announcing this initiative to provide accommodation for tourists stuck in Morocco. We should collaborate as one human family against the current crisis despite economic losses,” said Karroui.
Visitors from Spain, France and other countries reacted positively to the initiative, and thanked the youth of Merzouga for their generosity and help.
“Thank you for your solidarity,” wrote Rafa Jimenez.
“This is what I love about Morocco,” Michel Carra, a French tourist, expressed.
Despite the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on Morocco’s tourism industry, hotel and riad owners like Ouha are standing in solidarity with stranded tourists rather than capitalizing on their plight.
All international flights to and from Morocco are suspended until further notice, as well as maritime travel.
These travel suspensions, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, are projected to hit the tourism industry especially hard.
Opening his doors to those in need, Ouha is one of many hotel owners demonstrating the exceptional hospitality Moroccans offer visitors in both good and bad times.