More than a month after the earthquake in Morocco, Elena Masera, a photographer based in Marrakech for more than 20 years and manager of a Riad, talks about how the city is ready to welcome tourists

“The tourists arriving represent a message of hope and support that is needed, more than ever, at this moment for Morocco” says Elena Masera , manager of the Riad Due in Marrakech.

And he underlines it, every day, on the Riad's Instagram account with the slogan “Marrakech is alive, live in Marrakech” which is found, like a mantra, repeated by numerous hospitality facilities in the city.

Marrakech is alive, fortunately, and is gathering the strength to react to the tragic earthquake of September 8 precisely from its main vocation, tourism.

A new beginning in Marrakech

And it was also for Elena Masera, in 2001, a pleasure trip that made her discover this wonderful city: her attraction was fatal, so much so that she decided never to leave it again.

Elena worked at Mediaset in the direction of artistic resources, with satisfaction and success, but something during that trip struck her to the point that she made the decision to start a new < strong>life.

Elena had no contacts in Morocco, but driven by enthusiasm she soon created a network which over the years offered her various opportunities: "I don't know if it's due to my professional experience, but soon in Marrakech I found myself starting and managing new businesses related to tourism, as if word of mouth had spread about my skills.

In the meantime, what Morocco gave me, in addition to a new house and new jobs, was the freedom to express myself with the means of communication I prefer, the camera.

In fact, I published a book in 2009, entitled 'Shopping in Marrakech' and this year 'Extraordinary Marocco' (published by Italiastraordinaria, Tonocontinuo series), a photographic volume that tells an authentic and extraordinary Morocco, through the sensitivity, love and gratitude that the author expresses in each of her images.

What to expect from a stay at Riad Due

Elena Masera's photographs are also one of the fil rouge that welcome those who arrive at Riad Due for a stay.

Elena has been managing this charming boutique hotel for 7 years, during which time she has been able to introduce significant changes both to the structure and to the decoration and service offering.

The owner, in fact, was looking for a person capable of organizing a new hospitality model, based on maximum personalization. Thus began the demanding renovation works that continue to transform the hotel into a special place, dedicated to those who want to savor the travel experience in every aspect.

Riad Due, in fact, is an entire building on three floors, but only equipped with 4 suites, to offer guests large spaces, both private and common. In addition to the patio with the suggestive swimming pool and various relaxation areas, on the first floor there is a brightly colored living room-library that Elena Masera designed, like most of the interiors, in collaboration with the French decorator designer Yann Dobry< /strong>.

On the top floor, from the large terrace, which reflects the refreshing green tones of the patio, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city. Finally, returning to the ground floor, the solution of the open kitchen is interesting and unique in the panorama of Moroccan riads: one of the services offered, in fact, is the possibility of organizing traditional dinners to be savored around the tub or on the terrace.

The pleasure of a stay at Riad Due, located in the heart of the medina like most riads, is not, however, only given by the large, welcoming and elegant spaces, but also by the welcome and sense of care offered by the work team.

How Marrakech is experiencing the recovery

On 8 September, as we know, north-western Morocco was hit by a tragic seismic event, with its epicenter along the High Atlas mountain range.

The number of declared victims is approaching 3,000 and has risen dramatically in the first hours since the news reached us. We wanted to ask Elena, a direct witness, some information on the current situation in Marrakech:

How is the situation in Marrakech today, are hospitality facilities and museums open?

“On Saturday 9 September, the day after the earthquake, the airport was already open, most of the museums were open as were all the riads which were not damaged.

Some restaurants opened after just one week, others did not need to close. The Palais Bahia, the Palais Badi, the Tombeaux Saadienne and the Musée des Confluences are currently closed to the public.

For the rest everything is open and operational. As you know, the important world conference of the IMF and the World Bank was held from 9 to 15 October. which, fortunately, was not cancelled!”

Have there been many cancellations in your Riad or are guests still coming?

“Unfortunately people got scared by listening to the news and reading news that wasn't always truthful. They all canceled immediately, only after a thousand reassurances on our part were some customers recovered.

October and November bookings are resuming and it is very important for everyone because it is the best season to visit Marrakech and Morocco.”

As you see, tourists in general: those who arrive today ask for information on the days of the earthquake, are they interested, scared, would they like to be able to help or are they pretending nothing happened?

“The majority of customers who have decided to come and not cancel their reservation are because they trusted the information they received from us.

Once here they themselves saw that the situation in Marrakech is not as disastrous as it was made out to be.

A large part absolutely wants to leave a contribution to help the populations of the hard-hit mountains. I had a couple of clients who were present on the day of the earthquake and even went to donate blood. Moving."

Has your way of welcoming people and offering hospitality and services changed?

“Honestly no, nothing has changed. We always behave in the same way. Perhaps we welcome with an even more hopeful smile so that more and more travelers will be encouraged to tell and return to this wonderful land."