Like many holiday destinations, Morocco is reeling from the pandemic, but a new online tour is connecting artisans with shoppers – and a bringing glimmer of hope
It is lunchtime in Marrakech, but the Djemaa el-Fna is so deserted it takes me a minute to recognise what is usually the medina’s social nexus. There are no snake charmers wielding pungi flutes, nor are there any henna artists on plastic stools fanning themselves with their pattern cards in the midday heat. Yet some things remain reassuringly familiar: the sky is blue, the Koutoubia mosque still cuts through the skyline, and my guide nearly gets run over by a motorbike within five minutes of introducing himself.
I should have been in Marrakech this week, but there is no travel corridor with the UK and the Foreign Office is still warning against all but essential travel to Morocco. My flights were cancelled by the airline, so I’m doing the next best thing: a virtual tour of the city. It’s a pilot for a new venture between Swedish startup Local Purse and adventure travel company Intrepid.