Operators of the PURE Life Experiences luxury travel showcase have understandably chosen to cancel this week’s event in Marrakech after an earthquake struck the Moroccan city late Friday night.
The 6.8 magnitude earthquake — the largest to hit the North African nation in 120 years — occurred 70 kilometres from Marrakech, in the remote rural village of Ighil at 11:11 pm. More than 2,000 people across Morocco have been killed.
The experiential luxury show PURE, organised by UK-based This is Beyond, was intended to take place from Sunday 10 to Wednesday 13 September 2023.
Serge Dive, CEO of This is Beyond issued an update on Sunday morning [Saturday evening local time], starting by saying: “Please join me in sending prayers to the people of Morocco, while the country is recovering from the impacts.”
“I know that many of you have been waiting for us to provide you with clear and prompt answers and solutions, and I apologise for how our delay in communications has affected travel plans,” Dive said. “I do ask you to understand that we have had less than one day to digest the ever-changing information that we are receiving from our partners, while ensuring the safety of our own team and suppliers.”
Following little more than a day of deliberation, Dive said “we have come to the conclusion that PURE 2023 cannot go ahead as planned.”
“While some of you are already in Marrakech, counting on us to bring you together as a community, I understand that many of you also feel that it might be inappropriate to visit a place which has suffered much devastation and emotional toll, and that some of you have also made the decision not to travel to the event.”
Dive said that part of the planned program – backed by local tourism authorities and participating partners – Palais Namaskar, would be open, however not for the Open House keynote speeches but instead for a “community-driven relief effort.”
That project includes accepting emergency donations for the affected villages nearby, including food, water, blankets, medicines and clothing. Cash donations were also being collected.
“Some of our Open House speakers have already kindly offered to share their expertise with the community, and we welcome anyone else to do the same in an informal format,” the PURE Team said.
Videos shared on social media also show the tremendous work that has been achieved so far in terms of donations and other relief efforts that PURE is supporting.
Additionally, Dive said partners that are in Marrakech already that still wish to come together for meetings, “in a very toned down format with no festivities,” are being coordinated.
Impacted travel partners are being offered a credit for PURE 2024, noting that the organisation is unsure if the cancellation of PURE 2023 will be covered by their insurance.
“We will simply try to absorb the losses the best way we can,” Dive added.
“Of course, it goes without saying that this is still an unfolding situation and if anything changes we will update you further,” Dive concluded.