The group who are studying for the Higher National Certificate
(HNC) in Travel and Tourism Management, camped on the edge of the
Sahara Desert for 10 days and visited local attractions to
highlight an alternative, more sustainable approach to tourism,
with the aim of supporting a destination's economy and
The region had been left flooded after an unusually wet winter,
having a detrimental effect on the local economy, which relies
heavily on the area's tourism activity. Students interviewed local
business entrepreneurs and also members of the community who they
found had traditionally farmed but are now working in
The trip was part of a project comparing the desert region to
that of a rural destination in the UK, Northumberland. The project
focused on issues such as planning of tourism projects and how
tourism affects society and culture in host destinations.
Students also visited the annual Festival de Nomades for local
music where they were interviewed by a Moroccan TV station, watched
camel racing through the town of M'Hamid and participated in
Moroccan traditions such as Henna Art and visiting a Kasbah to
drink mint tea with a Moroccan elder.
Student, Nicola Robertson, 20, said: 'It was amazing to see
traditional Moroccan villages and the culture they hold. It was
also interesting to see the effects of western culture upon
Marrakech and the contrast.
"The trip has allowed us to interview many people linked to the
tourism industry, this has helped us to learn about how important
tourism is to the country."
Mark Rossi, Course Leader, travelled with the group along with
Head of Department, Sheena Towns. He said: "What better classroom
could a student ever want than the Sahara Desert. Everywhere the
students went they were made to feel welcome and given ample
opportunity to ask questions and discuss the 2020 Vision (Morocco's
Sustainable Tourism plan).
"The experiences of the students, will last with them forever.
They showed a great deal of enthusiasm and maturity - true
ambassadors for Northumberland."
All research collected on the trip will now be used for the
students' final assignments towards their qualification.