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Last updated : Nov 2009
Marrakech Business Profile
Marrakech Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Residents of Marrakech have a reputation for kindness and humour, so it is unnecessary to be too formal when doing business. In personal business communication, plain speaking and a keenness to make eye contact are appreciated. However, over-casualness can be considered as rudeness or laziness so businesspeople should preserve a smart appearance, even though suits are not expected when the weather is very hot. Appointments for meetings should be made and, while promptness is appreciated in Morocco, it is wise to allow some leeway regarding timing.

Negotiations often involve a great deal of consultation and bargaining, partly to build up a trusting relationship between the 2 parties. A deal may take time, and brisk attempts to rush the process may scupper the arrangement. Contrary to Western business dealings, which are mostly conducted on a 1-to-1 level, visitors here should expect to deal with a number of businesspeople connected to the company. Although several executives speak English, French is the preferred language of commerce in Marrakech.

The normal business hours Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 12.00 pm and 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm. During Ramadan the hours are Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm.

The Moroccans are enormously hospitable people but do expect courtesy from their guests. If invited to a Moroccan’s home, it is traditional to take a small gift for the women (Western perfume or a traditional food from abroad) and children. Refreshments will always be offered, normally mint tea and it is impolite to refuse and visitors should expect to be given up to 3 glasses.

In addition, hands should be washed before all meals and, if food needs to be handled, you should only use your right hand. Guests should not smoke, drink or eat in public during Ramadan and, at other times of the year, it is wise to be cautious and guided by the host. It is always sensible to refrain from asking for alcohol if it is not visible – the rules of hospitality would require the host to provide it and this may be in conflict with their religious beliefs.

While Morocco is an Islamic nation, it is very broadminded by Middle Eastern standards, so businesswomen should not feel overly intimidated when working in the country, but are advised, however, to dress conservatively and hemlines should unquestionably be below the knee.