The Moroccan city of Marrakech is committed to green tourism. A leading global tourist destination and Morocco’s top attraction, the city has recently hosted the COP22 climate change summit and is fast turning into a green city that encourages eco tourism.
Tourism is the second highest source of income, making up 12% of Moroccan GDP – more than 10 million tourists visited the country in 2015. The National Tourism Office is keen to integrate environmental awareness and protection initiatives into the tourism sector.
General Director Abderrafie Zouiten said: ‘We never wanted to develop mass tourism. Morocco intends to emphasis the eco tourism, its special tangible and intangible heritage, together with the tourism professions, with the regions.’
Sustainable Tourism Charter
The new Moroccan Sustainable Tourism Charter came into force on 25th January 2016 launching the first ever Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Day. The Charter is designed as a framework reference for all industry stakeholders to come together around the four principles of sustainable tourism:
- Biodiversity Protection and the Environment
- Sustainability of Culture and Heritage
- Prioritising Local Development and Respect for Host Communities
- Fairness, Ethics and Social Responsibility
Morocco’s eco tourism efforts have also been recognised internationally with a Silver Award at the African Responsible Tourism Awards in Cape Town.
More than 72 Moroccan hotels, hostels and smaller accommodations have now been awarded the prestigious Green Key for their environmental efforts and responsibility, of which 30 can be found in Marrakech.
The Green Key is a voluntary eco label supported by the United National Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). At present, 2,500 establishments across 53 countries are accredited.
These efforts form part of Morocco’s new policy to encourage sustainable development in order to achieve its Vision 2020 Tourism Strategy. This strategy is designed to make the country’s tourism industry more competitive, aiming to attract 20 million tourists by 2020.
Marrakech, where history and culture merge in a most attractive way, is part of this ambitious vision for the future. The city was awarded ISO 14 011 certification for its sustainable tourism efforts, and there are plenty of options for the eco tourist to enjoy and discover the beauty of this ancient city.
Here are some tips to help promote sustainable travel during your visit:
Marrakech’s famous souks boast over 3,000 ‘shops’ and all will reassure you that their wares are authentic, local made and of the finest quality when, in fact, many products will have been mass produced and are not good quality. If you’re looking for genuine souvenirs that also support local business, why not visit fair trade outlets such as Al Nour, a social enterprise that supports handicapped women, or the Cooperative Artisanale des Femmes de Marrakech.
Argan Oil is another classic example. Once a Berber tribal ingredients, it is now a global multi million dollar industry. The Argan tree, native to Morocco, plays an important part in protecting the soil in the South West of the country and preventing more desertification. With the help of UNESCO, Argan trees are now protected while cooperatives have been set up to promote better wages and work conditions for local women. If you wish to buy some Argan Oil to take home, you’re advised to shop at the cooperatives. They may charge a little more but chances are higher that you’ll be getting good quality or even certified organic oil as opposed to cheaper and inferior products sold widely elsewhere.
The best way to explore Marrakech is on foot. The Medina provides plenty of opportunity to step back in time and discover architectural gems and hidden alleyways. As far as green space goes, the Menara Gardens are filled with olive trees and great sites, making them a fantastic place for a nature walk. The colourful and exotic Majorelle Gardens contain botanic specimen from around the world as well as the former home of Yves Saint Laurent.
Of course, for the authentic Moroccan experience, a Mehari dromedary ride is the best way to see the region and discover some of Morocco’s dessert environment…
Respect local customs
While Marrakech is a cosmopolitan city, modest dress is always appreciated in order to be respectful of local customs, particularly in the Medina. Some tourists go around in skimpy t-shirts and shorts or miniskirts, which can create unwanted attention. As a Muslim country, most local women do not show skin apart from face and hands. Do at least have something to hand to cover up your shoulders and keep our knees covered.
Similarly, overt public displays of affection between couples should be avoided, as should eating and drinking while walking along the street, and smoking in the street during Ramadan.
Written by Dakota Murphey, a freelance travel writer working with luxury 18th century courtyard house Riad el Zohar, in Marrakech.
Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green
A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:
- They arranged a carpool with their friends.
- They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
- They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
- My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.
My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.
Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm
People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.
How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:
- The Center for Disease Control reports that about two million marriages are formed every year.
- Approximately 70% of all marriages have green elements today.
- This means that 1.4 million marriages are green.
There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.
People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before
Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.
One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:
“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”
Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative
Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.
Cost and Simplicity
A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.
Green Weddings Are the Future
Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.
Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?
Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.
Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.
Fulfilling a Genuine Need
Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.
Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.
After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.
Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.
Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.
Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.
A Fundamental Foresight
Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.
However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.
They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.
- Features4 weeks ago
Pelicans, Eagles & Cormorants: The Wonderful Water Birds of Lake Winnipeg
- Environment4 weeks ago
How Can Property Developers Help to Create Sustainable Communities?
- Spend3 weeks ago
7 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill This Fall
- Energy4 weeks ago
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy