Places which were once far off names on maps are rapidly coming within range for holiday makers with the urge to travel just a bit farther.
Places which were once far off names on maps are rapidly coming within range for holiday makers with the urge to travel just a bit farther. As air travel becomes more commonplace and "package" holiday offer ever increasing bargains, so distance becomes less of a problem. The desire to "go somewhere different" is being catered for the tourist organisations in many countries on an unprecedented scale. Rapidly becoming one of the major tourist magnets in Morocco - a nation which boasts the best of Arab and French cultures. Marrakesh, in particular, is one centre where the visitor can still look unbelievingly at scenes which have been enacted in exactly the same manner for centuries and, because of the visitor with money to spend, will continue to flourish for a long time to come.
In the past few years the ancient city of Marrakesh has become a boom city. Foreign visitors have flocked there to look-in on a way of life that has changed little with the passing of centuries.
The inhabitants of the city, and many from distant parts of the country, quickly realised that their customs and everyday life were attractive to outsiders. Consequently they have catered for the thousands of tourists who annually visit their street markets, bazaars and other local attractions.
While the new, luxury hotels flourish on an unprecedented scale offering the comforts of the Space Age with French or Arab cuisine on their large menus, the people of the markets cling to their ancient skills as vendors and entertainers.
For Morocco with its new holiday trade - not only to Marrakesh but to Fez, Casablanca, Tangiers and Rabat - the realisation that their country can give the Western World a not-too-far-home look at the East, has proved an economic story with a happy outcome and no end in sight.
The development of the Tourist Industry in recent years has been given a place of major importance in the nation's affairs. The visitor, as Arab hospitality has always decreed, is a much honoured guest; master of all the surveys...but naturally, for a price.
Visitors from Britain and the Continent of Europe comprise the main tourist trade. In Marrakesh they find all they expected to find - snake charmers, native dancers, price haggling in the Bazaars, camel rides, and plenty of things to buy; native craftsmanship as it always was, but on a mass-produced scale. And business booms.
While the old market places carry on their trade amidst surroundings which are as ancient as the Old Testament, not too far away mushroom the concrete and glass realisations of some architect's dream hotel where, undoubtedly, will be housed the thousands of travellers who come to see the attractions of the past.