After Morocco’s devastating earthquake, the tourism industry rallies round

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Travel and tour operators are getting involved in the country’s relief effort, knowing how vital tourism is to its economy

“My family is safe,” our tour guide Sara Chakir said as we huddled in the streets outside Fez’s medina, waiting for aftershocks until the early hours. Morocco’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake had struck last Friday, 350 miles away in the Al Haouz region of the High Atlas mountains at just after 11pm. It was enough to send our riad swaying, but there was no apparent damage to people or place. It was only in the morning that the scale of destruction elsewhere was clear. Another tour guide, Hossain ait Mhand, said: “My family is fine, but others in their town are not so lucky – homes have been flattened.”

I was on my way to a conference in Marrakech, about 40 miles north of where the earthquake was centred, but detoured home. Those already in the city saw blood bank queues snaking around the streets after a government call out. Marrakech’s medina experienced damage, and 50 people were reported to have died there. Tourists trickled out of the city.

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