Sustainable, Responsible Tourism

 

 

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A circle dance group and local people enjoy a Gnawa Band

Ethical, Holistic Holidays and Responsible Tourism

We have been pioneers in responsible and sustainable tourism in Morocco since we opened La Maison Anglaise in 1996. After 10 years of commitment  in Morocco (and previously in her 25 years in education where sustainability was her favourite theme), Jane was invited to speak at the launch of Morocco’s Responsible Tourism Initiative in 2006.

As a natural extension of these ethics, we understand the connection between body, mind and spirit that has generated a nurturing, holistic approach to entertaining our guests. Relaxation, exercise, good food, learning and splendid scenery are all on the menu.  Special Interest group holidays are our speciality.

Responsible Touism Awards

2005  – selected as one of the Top 10 Vegetarian Holidays in the World by VegeNews 

P1000584-12009 – awarded the Moroccan Responsible Tourism Trophy for Social and Economic Development

greenkeylogo2012 – certified by Green Key.  This is an internationally recognised sustainable management label.  Some of the ways in which we fulfil their responsible tourism criteria are listed below:

  • using solar panels to heat water
  • promoting education on sustainability
  • serving locally produced food made with fresh ingredients
  • putting in place water and electricity conservation
  • supporting a number of appropriate projects
  • holding regular meetings to further our aims

2014 – Lonely Planet selected the guest house as one of the Top 10 Ecostays in the World.

Our Customers Said…

I was aware of your commitment to sustainability: it shines out of your website and even more from yourself. It is one reason for staying with you and I couldn’t recommend it to anyone without mentioning that very early in the conversation (as well as wonderful food and exceptional staff )  Lucy T Sept 2017

The commitment to sustainability shone  through everything planned for us, also it was delightful and so well thought through. The week at La Maison with all the activities was amazing – so varied.  it was a real privilege to be welcomed into Moroccan life and culture. Holly Anderson Nov 2017

I cannot praise the staff there enough for their commitment and dedication to making us feel at home there and sharing their culture with us. Their commitment to sustainability was very apparent and while it was not the reason I originally booked the holiday, it added to my enjoyment and sense of wellbeing while I was there. A Jacob April 2018

Responsible Tourism

How do we implement our beliefs?

Responsible Tourism project - soap makingSupport of a wide variety of community projects. These were instigated by us:

  • 2006  a soap-making project for which we were awarded a Responsible Tourism trophy
  • 2010  our bee keeping project supports not only bee keepers but also habitats and an endangered species of bee.
  • 2014 an embroidery project to support local women and preserve local traditions.

Responsible Tourism Project - Embroidery Other Projects we support:

  • the Orphanage
  • the School for the Blind
  • an inspiring project to support street connected children, the Moroccan Children’s Trust
  • women’s cooperatives including rug-making and argan oil
  • wildlife conservation
  • animal welfare and several more

We have raised money for these projects in a variety of ways including selling our on-line cook book. More details about our aid projects .

Offering award-winning vegetarian and vegan food options at all meals.

waiting calechesPromoting sustainable transport for our clients through overland travel (see your carbon footprint below) and local excursions on foot or by horse-drawn taxis; when using motorised transport, we try to create  groups to share the vehicle (and experience) and we offer bicycles for hire.

Promoting cross-cultural understanding by providing for our clients:

  • detailed information both before and during their visit to ensure that the maximum cultural insight and enjoyment is gained from the holiday
  • opportunities for genuine connections to develop with local people
  • an awareness of Moroccan open-mindedness: for example you can feel comfortable bringing your own alcohol to the dining table if you wish
  • respect for Moroccan beliefs means we don’t ask the staff to serve alcohol (though you are welcome to bring your own)

Said teaches children about energy-saving

Education, particularly of young people, is important to us. The photo shows a workshop for the staff’s nine children at the guest house. Their focus was energy and water conservation.

We hope our visitors will learn from our extensive displays and a well stocked library, but mainly  through the soles of their feet and from the informative educated staff.

From 1992, 5 years before the guest house project began, Jane was involved in research in Morocco.  She lectured both in the UK and Morocco about sustainability and wildlife conservation.

STOP PRESS! Our New Garden Ecolodge

Jane has wanted to built in earth since she first conceived the project in 1996. Eventually in 2004 she found a suitable 1 acre plot of land in a fabulous location immediately adjacent to Taroudant’s historic town walls, as well as remarkably close to the souk. Her dream came true in November 2018 when permission to build was finally granted and one year later the project will be complete.

The innovative 12 bedroomed ecolodge is being constructed to unusually high environmental standards. We are making excellent progress and will be open before the end of 2019. Our aim is to inspire others to create (and live) in more sustainable buildings and gardens. We will showcase Moroccan traditions combined with innovative energy and water-saving design.

Jane has wanted to built in earth since she first conceived the project in 1996. Eventually in 2004 she found a suitable 1 acre plot of land in a fabulous location immediately adjacent to Taroudant’s historic town walls, as well as remarkably close to the souk. Her dream came true in November 2018 when permission to build was finally granted and one year later the project will be complete.

Grounds Set in an acre of permaculture gardens offering lots of plants with low water needs – trees, shrubs and ground cover and scented plants. Habitats for guests & wildlife, for recreation and relaxation and for  growing food.Tortoises, birds (storks’ nest soon?), a cat and more. Stunning  swimming pool (19 metres long x 3 metres wide without chlorine; it will be disinfected by tiny amounts of silver and copper).

Architecture & Design Primary design considerations were efficient use of resources both in the building stage and during its use; comfort of our guests including use of breathable local materials. A variety of lovely views exist including: through 8 arches towards the pool as you arrive; views from the extensive gardens at the rear and from the roof terrace of the town walls and High Atlas Mountain. All rooms are at ground floor level for ease of access, direct access onto gardens and so as not to obscure the town walls.

Location Superbly located immediately adjacent to the historic city walls with quick and easy-to-find access to the souks and transport hubs. Easy to find – clear signs from the 3 major roads approaching the town.

Bedrooms  have en suite shower room with a separate toilet and will look onto a 6 metre deep garden. Each pair of rooms has a neatly hidden solar panel for hot water. All grey water is filtered via gravel beds and is stored for irrigation. One room will have disabled facilities and 2 pairs of rooms are usable as family suites – there is an option of  using an interconnecting door via the 2 en suite bathrooms.

Superb communal spaces: a beautiful activity room 8 x 8 metres (with a richly-coloured marmoleum surface and a sprung floor) looking onto a large courtyard with a fountain and sensory garden adjacent to which there is a large dining terrace and a dining room and a huge kitchen suitable for cookery demonstrations and a very  large roof terrace above these 3 rooms.

Nearby a reception area and shop (to support charitable causes) with the adjacent office and a library with computer for client’s use.

Small Spa An innovative solar-heated hammam and 2 massage rooms. We will still visit a local hammam, and the best hammam in town is nearby.

Staff All our current English-speaking staff will be moving with us so food & service will remain excellent, perhaps better without all the stairs! And we will have extra staff to help with cleaning, the kitchen and a night guardian

More facilities Excellent free Wifi (8 hubs around the site). Safe private parking inside our walls.

To learn more about progress follow our pages here

Your Carbon Footprint

The Dilemma if you Fly

Even a short return flight from Gatwick to Agadir releases 0.78 tonne of carbon emissions per passenger, which is a 10th of the average person’s annual carbon footprint in the UK! If you do decide to fly you can compensate for these emissions through carbon offsetting, which neutralises your emissions with a comparable reduction elsewhere .See more details and ideas below.

Suggestions To Reduce Your Impact on Climatic Change

We have been researching an effective, efficient, easy to support community-orientated solution to support our planet and inhabitants. Here’s why we chose Community Carbon Link in Kenya. To understand why we support it and why you might want to support it through us:

• Tree planting near the equator where it has the maximum benefit as a carbon sink.
• Planting of species that take up high levels of carbon dioxide and provide profitable crops for farmers (such as neem, cashew nuts & mango).
• An award- winning charitable project with a proven track record run by a forester who we know and has strong long-term heartfelt links between Wales & the local community (much as we do in Morocco)
• 100% of the funds will go directly to the project and this will benefit some of the 1000 farmers immediately.
• You might be inspired to eat more health-inducing tree-derived foods to support more diverse and resilient tree ecosystems

We have already made a donation of £1000 on your behalf which cuts out the costs of online donations (which take about 50%!).

To donate Simply add to your payment due to us OR send to our bank account with the reference CARBON & your name & we will automatically allocate it to the project.

Offset your flights (to neutralise your Carbon Footprint) by donating enough to offset 0.82 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (cost from £5) generated by your flights to a chosen project on  this web site or those managed by Cool Earth or Rainforest Concern.

Choose Airlines with Efficient Aircraft Ryanair, now claiming to be Europe’s greenest airline, (March 2018) offers offsetting, and their latest Environmental Policy will build on achievements to date, including commitments to address climate change such as investing billions in the newest, most fuel-efficient aircraft and committing to eliminate all non-recyclable plastics within 5 years.

Fly Direct Indirect flights are fuel inefficient because take off & landing use much more fuel.

IF YOU WISH TO TRAVEL OVERLAND to reduce emissions
You can reach Morocco from London in 48 hours by high speeed train. The Moroccan government is committed to sustainability and opened Africa’s first high speed railway link between Tangier & Casablanca in March 2019. This cuts almost 4 hours off the journey , cutting it to 2 hours and 15 mins. Excellent information about overland travel is available here

OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES  Bear in mind that things that we do daily can contribute as much to emissions as a flying a short distance infrequently.

Vegetarian Diets to reduce your carbon footprint Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined. We offer vegetarian food by default with meat and fish available at a surcharge. Our meal prices had not risen for many years so in 2019 we decided that we would leave vegetarian meals, chicken & fish meals unchanged (20 MAD about £1.60 surcharge for chicken or fish) and make an additional surcharge of 10 MAD (about 80 pence) for lamb and 20 MAD (about £1.60) for beef in proportion to the environmental damage that production of these meats causes.

Consider How you Travel at Home Always travelling alone in a car as so many do in the UK can contribute as much as flying. Consider using public transport, car sharing or  where possible walking or cycling and keep fit at the same time.

Your Home  The impact of the embodied energy (all that was used in its production) and  the energy used to run most homes is massive.  It need not be that way! We hope that visiting our new ecolodge will inspire you to reduce your footprint at home.