Home Institution

Northwestern University

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


Since the mid-1990s, numerous Moroccan riads, or traditional homes built around a central courtyard, have been converted into tourist accommodations in Morocco’s old medinas. This paper seeks to analyze the impact of riad-style hostels specifically on the medinas, as hostels are relatively new to Morocco and have various benefits and consequences for the community. Though hostels are often portrayed as a sustainable form of tourist accommodation compared to multinational hotel corporations, they have an acute impact by bringing tourists into previously residential spaces and exacerbating the effects of global gentrification. My research relies on interviews with hostel owners and employees, as well as supplementary interviews with guests or members of the community in four cities: Fes, Tangier, Rabat, and Essaouira. This paper discusses the dynamics of representation encountered by hosts and the interactions between hostels and the community. I also transition into a discussion I had not anticipated regarding the varying approaches of hostels toward receiving Moroccan guests. My research question is: how do hostel owners in Morocco navigate cultural representation and tourist intrusion in the medinas in the age of global gentrification?


Arabic Studies | Critical and Cultural Studies | Hospitality Administration and Management | Place and Environment | Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Tourism | Tourism and Travel | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


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