Intrepid Launches Emergency Appeal For Morocco

Intrepid Travel has launched an emergency appeal for Morocco following Friday’s earthquake. The tour operator is using its not-for-profit, the Intrepid Foundation to raise funds, committing to double all donations up to AUD$100,000.

All funds raised will go directly to grassroots organizations to provide emergency relief.

The Intrepid Foundation has established the appeal to provide support to its long-term local NGO partners in Morocco, Education for All and the High Atlas Foundation, who are on the ground working with local communities.

This includes providing those impacted with essential provisions such as food, shelter, clean water, and medical supplies.

The Intrepid Foundation will match donations to the Morocco Earthquake Appeal up to $100,000 AUD while covering the foundation’s administrative costs, ensuring 100 percent of donations go directly to recovery efforts.

“The earthquake in Morocco is the most devastating to hit the country in over a century, impacting more than 300,000 lives in the communities surrounding the High Atlas Mountains and beyond. While many of us cannot even begin to understand this level of loss, we can, by supporting this appeal, directly supply those impacted with emergency relief and support,” said Biheng Zhang, general manager of the Intrepid Foundation.

Intrepid holds a deep and enduring connection with Morocco. As one of the tour operator’s biggest destinations globally, the country has shared its beauty with countless Intrepid travelers.

“Intrepid was founded on the idea of benefiting both the travellers and the people in the communities we visit. Through this relief effort, we hope to give back to the country that has given so much to our travel community,” said Zina Bencheikh managing director of EMEA for Intrepid Travel.

“My heart is with Morocco, my home, and one of the most special places in the world,” she adds. Intrepid Travel offers 33 tours in Morocco, with a major office in Marrakech and nearly 80 local team members. Intrepid had 66 tour groups and approximately 650 customers on tours in the country at the time of the earthquake, all of whom are accounted for.

To donate, please visit Morocco Earthquake Appeal.

In a statement, Intrepid said that it had accounted for all its customers currently on tours, tour leaders and staff in Morocco, following Friday’s earthquake and will cancel all upcoming departures scheduled until Sept. 12.  This is aimed at ensuring the authorities can respond to the immediate disaster without the pressure of additional tourists.

Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid’s managing director, EMEA, based in Morocco, said that: “Safety is always Intrepid’s number one priority – we’re relieved to have been able to account for all our customers and believe cancelling upcoming tour departures is in the best interests of local communities right now,”

She continued: “Our thoughts go out to everyone in Morocco who has been affected by this disaster and we will do everything we can, including through the Intrepid Foundation, to support communities as they rebuild.”

Intrepid is one of the largest tour operators in Morocco and had approximately 650 customers in the country at the time the earthquake struck.

Travellers currently on trips   

The earthquake has impacted some parts of Morocco more than others. The main impact from the earthquake has been felt in the Atlas Mountains and some parts of Marrakech.

Intrepid’s tour groups are currently spread across the country, including regions that have not been severely impacted.

Due to this, Intrepid will today (Sept. 10) work with each tour group individually to advise next steps, based on the safest and best option for them.

Tours due to depart before Sept. 13    

Intrepid has made the decision to cancel tours due to start in the coming days, in order to ensure the authorities can deal effectively with the immediate disaster.

Trips due to depart between now and Sept. 12 (inclusive) have been cancelled. Affected customers are being contacted and will be able to reschedule their trip or receive a refund.

Tours due to depart after Sept. 13

Tour departures will resume from Sept. 13, with some amendments in place. This includes completely avoiding the Atlas Mountains and greatly reducing time in Marrakech. Additionally, customers who are due to depart on a trip in Morocco between Sept. 13-17 (inclusive) can choose to cancel their trip and receive a credit for a future booking.