Sustainable Tourism in Morocco

Jaafar El Mekkaoui
General Manager, Paradis Plage

Could you explain how you're training your employees toward green action?

Most of our employees are from the local village where Paradis Plage is located. All these people have grown up with sustainability as their lifestyle due to the limited access to resources in the village. Creating a switch in the mindset for our employees has not been necessary as they have grown conscious of themselves. Sustainability for us is essential as we are the biggest company in the area. 

Could you give an example of two projects which integrated responsible tourism?

Water is the main challenge we face, so we recycle all water from the bathrooms and kitchen. We recycle it through three steps to ensure the water is purified, and after this, we reuse it for watering the gardens and our toilets. No water is lost. Regarding energy, guests must put a card in the room to have electricity. We try to raise awareness regarding energy usage throughout every room. We try to avoid single-use plastic as much as we can. We started with straws, which have become a big problem for our beaches. Unfortunately, we still use plastic due to the lack of sustainable alternatives, but we are striving to become a sustainable hotel from every angle.  

How do you ensure the highest quality food while promoting local and organic production?

We have worked with a German NGO for six years to buy from local farmers and suppliers to work more with us. We aim to provide high-quality products grown in the region to support small and fair businesses. The main food supply we work with is meat or vegetables, and the results have shown success in the guest experience for our guests. 

What do you think is the role of sustainable tourism in the green transition in Morocco? 

The role is significant, but the line between marketing and actual actions is thin. So it's either we do it, but to do small things and do colossal marketing and communication with that is perhaps not the right, not the right move. Before reaching a decent point of sustainability in tourism, there needs to be proper training for small and medium hospitality companies. The change starts with a bottom-up approach. In Morocco, there is much to learn from local communities in the countryside. People already live sustainably as they do not have the abundance of other developed economies. This is the way to move forward; through minimalism. The tourism industry has much to learn and impact in this regard. 

What brought you to do what you do? I also understood it as a family business, so what exactly drove you to do this? In Morocco?

All the family members involved in Paradis Plage either grew up surfing or close to the Ocean and close to the Hotel industry. Paradis Plage has been the first Surf & Yoga Eco-resort to be opened in the world and it very quickly became a huge opportunity for job creation in the region. Surfers worldwide come here every year and are all committed to protecting the environment. We strive to become a whole community and raise awareness and unforgettable experiences.