Moussem of Tan Tan Moussem of Tan Tan

MOROCCO: A Shining Star on UNESCO's List (Part 2)

A SHINING STAR ON UNESCO'S LIST Since 1981, Morocco has been home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, an impressive showing when considering the country's size.

These include Fez Medina, the world's largest car-free urban area with a unique architectural heritage, Marrakech Medina, a stunning example of a living historic Medina town, the city of Meknes founded by the Almoravids, the Medina of Tetouan, which blends Andalousian influence to its urban fabric, El Jadida, Medina of Essaouira as well as Rabat.

Selected on the basis of their unique cultural, historical and architectural significance, the above mentioned sites are legally protected by international treaties.

Inscribed in 2008 by the Third Session of the Intergovernmental Committee, Moussem of Tan Tan, an annual gathering of nomadic people of the Sahara, joined UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

ACCESSIBLE PAMPERING

As one of the most significant niche tourism sectors in the MENA region, wellness tourism has grown rapidly during the recent years.

Wellness is part of the Moroccan lifestyle, by culture and by tradition.

The country's enchanting land presents a multitude of experiences, among which are its flourishing health and wellness offerings.

The country has indeed seen developments in its tourism industry lately, and the local spas have particularly cultivated a significant market share.

In addition, the availability of affordable flights made it more accessible, thus increasing the influx of visitors.

Highlighting the broad spectrum of travellers seeking wellness and pampering, Christophe Prieu, director, sales and marketing, Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi Marrakesh, noted, "We welcome guests from all regions, including Europe, the US and Asia.

Clients from the Middle East are also very common, especially from Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Our large ground facilities allow us to satisfy the most discerning clientele, providing a high-end service for tourists and families spending their holidays in Marrakech and a second to none offer for business and congress travellers."

Located in Paleraie area, an oasis of wellbeing between desert and majestic mountains, Palais Namaskar offers a wide range of personalised fitness coaching and sensual spa therapies that help visitors to dissolve stress and transform their moods.

As Majid El Ghzal, general manager, Palais Namaskar, explained, the rising popularity of wellness-oriented travel is due to the global evolution of lifestyles.

In addition, El Ghzal highlighted the fact that many positive developments have been made during the recent years allowing Morocco to compete with most countries in the region and on the continent.

Along parallel lines, Tarik Kerdoudi, director, sales and marketing, Mövenpick Hotel Casablanca, echoed, "Although the segment is not as well developed as its Eastern European and Asian neighbours, it benefits from a combination of advantages, such as its proximity to Western Europe, a pleasant climate and the availability of lowcost flights."

Morocco conjures up images of mystery and exoticism, as well as a vivid range of sights and colours, which make the country a captivating destination for a wide scope of travellers.

The ongoing dance between old and new as well as its warm hospitality and abundant wellness offerings reflects the country's many faces.