Recently the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris have led many travellers and tourists to ask if it’s safe to travel to Morocco now. With the news full of the threat from IS and the refugee crisis pushing nationalist buttons all over Europe, it might not seem like the best moment to visit and Arabic country.
So what will happen to you if you travel to Morocco right now?
Nothing at all.
Can I promise that? No more than I can guarantee that you won’t be run over by a bus today, or have a tile fall off a roof and hit you on the head.
What I can promise is that of all the threats to your safety, terrorist strikes are among the least likely.
It’s like flying. Many people are scared of going up in the air even though it’s many, many more times safer than getting into a car and yet when was the last time you saw someone nervous about getting into the passenger seat of a taxi?
Over 8 million tourists from Europe go to Morocco each year and the worst that happens to them is they pay too much for a carpet in the market in Marrakech. The tourism industry creates work and provides income for hundreds of thousands of Moroccans and the last thing they want is for tourists to worry about coming to Morocco.
That’s even more true in the Sahara where the villages are almost entirely sustained by the visitors from abroad.
It’s true that the travel advice sections of many embassies warn of potential terrorist threats in Morocco but that’s what they have to do. Essentially they’re covering themselves just in case something were to happen.
Every year people come to the retreat and tell me about the lectures they endured from their families about the dangers of walking through a desert populated by terrorists. They mean well but they’ve never been to Morocco and their fears are largely fuelled by sensationalist media and old-fashioned fear.
When you come to Morocco you’ll see what a lovely bunch of people live here. Especially in the Sahara where the population is mostly Berber and typically a little more calm and easy-going. It’s such a shame to see this friendly, welcome people characterised as fanatics.
I feel much more worried for my safety walking through the streets of any English town at night.