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Live a residential experience during holidays or how Riad Guest Houses promote the connexions with Marrakech as a touristic destination

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Author(s): Stéphanie LEROUX

Journal: Essachess : Journal for Communication Studies
ISSN 2066-5083

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 99;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: tourism | tourists | residents | touristic housing | worldview | Marrakech

ABSTRACT
The study of the town of Marrakech allows one to map the evolution of touristic housing, as well as the different ways of viewing the world attached to these accommodations. One can divide them into three big categories. Hotel clubs make up the first, unrated hotels the second, and Riad Guest Houses (RGH), the third. The three aforementioned categories represent three distinct stages in the evolution of touristic practices, with the later stages being characterized by a rejection of the now disparaged status of “tourist”. Hotel clubs are synonymous with mindless mass tourism while unrated hotels are generally patronized by cleverer backpacker and/or adventurer types. The third category is representative of a new generation aspiring to blend in to the point of becoming residents. While mass tourism is plainly associated with a dehumanized economic presence, the wish to adopt the status of resident can be read as a desire to legitimate one’s presence in the country, as well as to show one’s human and sensitive side. However, these changes have not yet managed to expunge from collective representations the figure of the tourist as a dim-witted and ridiculous putz – the “voyage idiot”. The reason for this is that the tourists themselves do not question this representation, especially not those who wish to distance themselves from it. Indeed they use it as a way to promote their own alternative touristic practices, symbolized by the unrated hotel and the Riad Guest House.
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