22 May 2018
El Jadida, Morocco
Sustainable Tourism

In the Oulja d’El Jadida region of Morocco, a man has decided to bring together tourists, locals, and farmers with a common aim: to respect the environment and think more about our relationship with nature. This approach is supported by the SwitchMed programme which involves the construction of a small organic paradise for tourists.

Shrubs and bushes separate the narrow lanes; in the distance, a house is surrounded by wooden bungalows and a bioclimatic chalet. A large greenhouse harbors plantations, a group disappears inside to look at the seeds growing. Then there is a magnificent forest surrounded by green spaces. Imagine a place that respects humans, visitors, locals, the environment, the region and its biodiversity. This place can be found in the Oulja Chtouka region in the province of El Jadida, near Casablanca.

It is “Camping farm – Riad Green House” and it has been specially designed by Hamid Ben M’Barek Riad to invite tourists to “holiday responsibly”. Riad is an engineer and an expert in energy and sustainable development. Through his project, he hopes to promote organic farming and raise awareness of the environment, agro-ecology, and sustainable tourism.

His aim is to bring together tourists, locals and farmers within the same approach, making them more respectful of the environment, the region and humans. He also wants to encourage small farmers to offer eco-tourism, green accommodation, organic farming and to use natural resources. Hamid Ben M’Barek Riad also supports education and learning about ecology, particularly thanks to a renewable energy platform, work placements in farming and the energy economy.

He is also the chairman of  AER2D-EABAssociation which was created to promote culture and environmental education.

Riad is being supported via the SwitchMed programme throughout the launch of his activities. His ideas, his desires and his motivation are gradually coming to life and developing into a real business. Riad, with the SwitchMed, is going through an incubation phase and is putting together his green business plan, by analyzing the market, demand, risks, etc. Thanks to this business plan and the support of SwitchMed, he has carried out “very accurate simulations to minimize the risk of debt.”

Based on an eco-construction, Riad has used the European Ecolabel as a reference for tourist accommodation and applied the “green” approach used in Morocco. This approach uses timber and natural resources to construct the buildings required, whilst taking into account their energy consumption and using renewable energy wherever possible. To do this, he is implementing Royal Directive COP22, the triple A (African Agriculture Adaptation).

His project also promises the construction of bioclimatic greenhouses and various seed plantations. Cultivating and owning plantations within the same campsite offering tourist accommodation has numerous benefits: awareness amongst tourists of the organic farming process, support for the local economy, links between artisans and tourists, and offering a sense of being at one with nature.

Riad will also go further in his desire to renew the links between artisans and tourists. His project aims to create a small daily artisans’ market and to share the message throughout the region by traveling in a green van around the local area. More than just acting for the good of the environment, he wants to spread the message, this philosophy of producing and consuming, be it fruit, vegetables or an accommodation service.

The project is based on three aspects: environmental, economic and social. He plans to employ a dozen people on a local level, and his project will indirectly employ other locals via the artisans’ market. His project is a real open door to nature lovers who want to rethink the way they travel, consume or produce. The Green House on Riad’s farm will be opening its doors to adventure seekers soon.

The article was originally published on the SwitchMed website.

Camping farm – Riad Green House Sustainable Tourism
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