Inclusive Morocco is the first queer-founded and led luxury travel company in the country, with a 100 per cent Moroccan team. However, being gay is still illegal. Jenny Southan reports

Set up in 2020 by two passionate advocates for sustainability and inclusivity, Bilal El Hammoumy and Rania Chentouf, Inclusive Morocco itineraries are “meticulously designed to celebrate the rich tapestry of Moroccan culture, with the local environment top of mind”.

The team champions excellent hospitality and inclusiveness, “ensuring every traveller leaves Morocco with a unique and profound connection to the country’s abundant spirit”.

What they are not doing is openly and deliberately is promoting themselves as an LGBTQ+ travel company or setting out to attract queer travellers. It’s a shame but understandable given the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the country. (You can be imprisoned for being gay.)

It does say on its website that Inclusive Morocco was created to “ensure an inclusive Morocco for minorities and undermined communities with a commitment to empower women and the LGBTQ community”.

Through active engagement with the local LGBTQ+ community and support for non-profit organisations such as the High Atlas Foundation, Association Darna, and Kif Kid Organisation, Inclusive Morocco pledges to contribute significantly to the communities it touches.Inclusive Morocco

Globetrender speaks to El Hammoumy to learn more…

How are you engaging with and supporting the local LGBTQ+ community?

“Inclusive Morocco is engaging with the local LGBTQ+ community through social work, financial support to non-governmental associations as well as raising awareness. We also strive to hire from this community helping them carve a path towards financial independence and eventually freedom to express themselves for who they are truly.”

What is the reality of life for queer people in Morocco?

“Sexual relations between members of the same sex are illegal in Morocco and punishable by prison. This is however rarely enforced and especially on foreigners in the country. Hotels and everywhere else do accept same-sex couples and families with no issues.

“Queer life in Morocco differs according the cities. Some cities like Marrakech, Casablanca, Agadir and Tangier are quite liberal and have a vibrant LGBTQ+ community that engages, there is also a lot of community work led by openly queer people. Other smaller cities are more conservative, and the sentiment is still outdated and hence being openly queer there can lead to instances of homophobia and rarely violence.”

How can you operate openly as LGBTQ+ business founders and tour leaders when it’s illegal to be gay? 

“The Moroccan constitution only criminalizes sexual relations. Being gay in itself is not illegal. It was important for us to come out as LGBTQ founded from social impact standpoint. Unfortunately, Morocco, especially in what concerns the tourism industry, is a country where acceptance is practiced but not preached.

“Tourism is a focal sector for a lot of families in Morocco and helps put bread on the table. We also believe that through this conversations we spark, we can dilute some misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community that exists here due to lack of education.”Intrepid Travel Morocco

How can LGBTQ+ remain safe in Morocco? 

“We always recommend our guests to steer away from PDA as it is insensitive to the culture whether straight or gay. We do recommend LGBTQ+ friendly hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs. Our transgender guests are advised to dress modestly and avoid grabbing attention as unfortunately, they are the weakest part of the community and can be subject to harassment and homophobia in Morocco.”

Is there a secret queer nightlife scene? 

“There isn’t a secret queer nightlife per se but in Marrakech, Agadir and Tangier: there is a vibrant queer nightlife and many popular spots that we recommend for LGBTQ+. There are some bars in different cities that have gained a queer reputation over time and in Casablanca, if you are lucky getting tickets, you can watch Kabaret Chikhat which are considered the leaders of the Moroccan drag culture scene.”

Are you directly targeting queer travellers? How are you specifically catering to them? 

“No we are not solely targeting queer travellers. Inclusive Morocco is targeting all travellers from different backgrounds. Although, we do love working with members of our community and showcasing our Morocco to them. Our sample itineraries are aimed to spark curiosity and interest but most of our trips are tailor-made and hyper personalized accordingly with our guests to respond directly to their aspirations and traveling lifestyle.”

If a queer person books with Inclusive Morocco does this mean they will be safer and more secure? 

“I believe that a queer person travelling with Inclusive Morocco would be safer, we are openly LGBTQ+ to all our staff so we are highly trained to lead tours in a country like ours so our guests will be totally at ease not fearing judgments from drivers and guides and worrying about their safety. Our guest families will not have to train their children to avoid calling them Mummy or Daddy during the trip in fear of being outed. We have a strict policy in place to promote equity, equality, diversity and community.”Morocco womens lunch

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Featured trips:

  • Echoes of the Atlas (new for 2024): This pioneering trip underscores the power of regenerative travel, showing that luxury and sustainability can happily coexist. It invites travellers to experience the Atlas Mountains’ grandeur through a lens of luxury that does not compromise the environment, ensuring a journey as enriching as it is responsible.
    Prices start from £13,170 per person based on two people sharing
  • Morocco with Kids: Specially designed to cater to the UK market, this trip is adaptable to families of all sizes, including multi-generational groups. It offers a blend of activities that ensure every family member, from the youngest to the oldest, experiences the magic of Morocco in a way that is meaningful and memorable.
    Prices start from £3,165 per person
  • Northern Morocco: Spotlighting Inclusive Morocco’s area of expertise and origin, this trip offers an intimate exploration of Northern Morocco’s rich heritage and new experiences. From the historical streets of Tangier to the rugged Rif mountains, travellers will discover a region brimming with culture, history, and new opportunities for adventure.
    Prices start from £3,710 per person