marrakesh square loses its buzz after attack - transparent plastic sheet
* Return to normal business in main plaza Marrakech
The reform protests have raised concerns about the economic recovery. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange income in Marrakech, Morocco, May 12 (Reuters)-
Abdel Hadi fetuaki, Morocco is reviewing the rationale for having a stand for dried fruit and nuts before one of Jamaa el-
The busiest cafe in Fna
In order for investigators to investigate the attacks of April 28, 17 people, including eight French nationals, were killed, and Fetouaki had to stay at home for the next six days.
Even now, his business is tough.
"Let's do it again," he said as he covered his goods with transparent plastic sheets to protect them from a group of brightly colored things --
Sellers dressed in the water of grerabah, masked Henn Tatu artists and traditional musicians came to the cafe to shout slogans against terrorism and glory of King Mohammed.
"The enemy may die because there are his people behind the King," shouted dozens of demonstrators . ".
Standing between the booth of fetuaki and the cafe, they issued a harsh slogan condemning "terrorism", and a group of children in white Rabah robes recited from long wooden boards.
The site has become a tourist attraction for Moroccan people who attract less and more foreign tourists to the square, and is considered by UNESCO as a masterpiece of human oral and intangible heritage.
Fetouaki watched the crowd without enthusiasm.
"Such a parade happens every day.
"This shows that the attack affects everyone," he said . ".
"It's OK to march and protest for a week or even ten days, but you'll see how this stops the business.
"We really need to go back to work ".
It looks hard to get back to normal activity.
Marrakech is the country's number one tourist destination, but the number of tourists has decreased since the attack, which has exacerbated tensions in the pro-American season
Other Arab countries have erupted in reform protests related to the uprising this year.
The strengthening of the police force in the square proves the government's cautious attitude.
On 2003, a massive attack in Casablanca killed 45 people, including 12 suicide bombers.
Earlier this month, police arrested three people suspected of the Marrakech attack and said the main suspects were "loyal" to al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Magri region denied involvement in the attack. [ID:nLDE7460CS]
The bombings also raised concerns that unrest in the Arab world, local protests and the global economic crisis could affect the number of European tourists.
Last week, Tourism Minister Yassir Znagui told Reuters that despite regional turmoil and explosions, tourism revenue is expected to grow faster this year than in 2010. [ID:nLDE7451ON]
A local official said the government wanted to match the number of accommodation in 2010, although he acknowledged that protests and timing of the Muslim month of Ramadan in August could hurt local and foreign tourists.
Not everyone is optimistic.
"We don't have to wait until after the explosion to see business slide," said the manager of a nightclub popular with Western holidaymakers.
"Business has not been very good since the economic crisis.
"There are far fewer Europeans coming, and the people coming are spending far less than they were before 2009," he said . ".
In addition to being a major employer in Marrakech, tourism is Morocco's largest source of foreign exchange income and a major pillar of the economic growth plan for the past decade.
The real estate boom that began in the late 1990 s, with the liberalization of EU air transport and the development of tourism, Marrakech has become a local El Dorado for thousands of Moroccan young people looking for jobs. Mohamed Ait-
Ouiss is an example. The 28-year-
Old came to Marrakech last year from the small town of Sidi Bouathmane, hoping to raise money to get married and settle down.
"There is nothing to do except to raise livestock, Sidi Bouathmane," he said, sitting on a tricycle, providing goods to and from the square for artisans in old medina.
He now runs half as many errands as he did before the attack.
"There are fewer and fewer orders for craftsmen from the owner of the Plaza souvenir shop," he said . ".
He pointed to a regional bus used to pick up tourists and said: "You usually see buses three to four times.
The place is losing its buzz.
"Terrorism has not only caused great harm to Christians (Foreign victims)
"But also thanks to the owner of the cafe and the whole Moroccan," he said . ". (
Editor Christian Lao and Philip Fletcher)