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Morocco: The social media influencers shining light on Marrakech

In Morocco, a new generation of social media influencers is ensuring that the highlights of the historic city of Marrakech are showcased all over the world.   -  
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The rooftop view of Jamaa Lefna square, Marrakech.

It's the iconic image snapped again and again by visitors to the city and one these young social media influencers are making sure remains in people's Instagram, Facebook and TikTok feeds.

"In Marrakech, there are many things that can be used in creating content. One of the best places I go to is this terrace that makes you clearly see the beating heart of Marrakech, which is Jamaa Lefna Square," says influencer, Abderrahim Agunaou.

"Here we can take beautiful photos. This place gives us a wonderful view of the Koutoubia Mosque and also the old city."

Agunaou works to promote the city on Instagram. He's one of an increasing number of young Gen Z people who are turning to content creation in Morocco.

Fellow influencer, Abdelouarit Ibaalal posts his videos to Facebook.

Both local to Marrakech, the pair have fun hanging out in the city, shooting and posting anything from juice bars and shops to historic buildings and mosques to attract other young people to Marrakech.

"We are the youth from Gen Z, the generation of the social media generation. Marrakech, the internationally known tourist city, tempts young people to visit it in order to create content. Here we have the opportunity to explore the city and also to create a fan base, no matter how small or large it is, the most important thing is to create content to influence young people," says Agunaou.

"We are trying, through social media and official pages that we have, to market this city because it consists of many places. As you can see, we are now in Jamaa Lefna Square. There is also the Menara, the Koutoubia, and other monuments that we can market through social media so they can recognised by people who have never visited it before," says Ibaalal.

Marrakech's traditional ryads are a haven for Gen Z influencers. It's here that they sip Moroccan tea, exchange ideas and publish the videos to social media platforms.

"Many people think that influencers do not enjoy the moment and they only take photos. On the contrary, we enjoy the moment more than those who do not take photos or videos, because we document all those moments and they remain as lasting memories. We keep them and share them all with people," says Agunaou.

It's a dream job for Agunaou and Ibaalal, spending their days visiting the coolest new hangouts, posting as they go along. But it doesn't always go smoothly for them. As Agunaou explains, they often face sharp criticism from older generations unhappy at their constant use of smartphones.

"We, as influencers, have the opportunity to get to know new places and people, as well as different cultures, but sometimes we encounter people who reject the idea of taking photos or filming, and this is what makes us feel harassed. They do not accept this development and our keeping up with social media. This is one of the most prominent problems we face as influencers," he says.

"We are Gen Z, we are subjected to a lot of criticism. It is said that we are irresponsible, that we constantly use the phone, and that we do not do anything. I believe that we have the luck to use technology and benefit from it. We are a generation that has this advantage more than previous generations. We can also use it in a positive way more than in a negative way."

One of those positives is the exposure Ibaalal provides for his beloved football club. For him the Kawkab Club of Marrakech is one of the most important sites in the city.

"The content I provide is related to sports and football in particular, which has large audiences because it is the most popular sport. We are here in the city of Marrakech, that is why I provide content related to the Marrakech Kawkab Club, which is also considered one of the city’s historical monuments," he says.

For now, both influencers work in Marrakech, but they say they hope to expand to other cities in Morocco and abroad if the opportunity arises.

Back on Jamaa Lefna square, Ibaalal and Agunaou are filming their experience of another Marrakech must-do: an old-fashioned horse and carriage ride through the city centre.

It's a tourist attraction that more often attracts older visitors or those with children. Now, its merits are being hyped through the social media lens to the next, younger generation of visitors.

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