By Khadija el-Fathi Al Arabya
Former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, accompanied by their daughter Julia are expected to open their a palace that he has newly bought in Marrakech. (AFP)
Prominent global figures and celebrities are flocking to Morocco’s resort city of Marrakech for New Year Celebrations, according to local media reports, which said the security in the “red city” has been exceptionally beefed up.
Former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, accompanied by their daughter Julia, will not stay in the royal Moroccan “J’nan Esssabil” residence like last year, because the former “Elysée Palace” resident has chosen to inaugurate his palace that he has newly bought in Marrakech; thus it will be a double celebration for him.
Sources told AlArabiya.net that Sarkozy bought this $ 3 million luxurious residence in the atlas Nakhil resort area, adding that Sarkozy will celebrate the New Year surrounded by his family who is living in the old Red city.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has chosen the city of Marrakech to spend a recovery period from her recent illness.
Moroccan media reports charge that Hillary has a sister married to a Moroccan man who lives “al-Haouz” area, in the suburbs of Marrakech. Al Arabiya cannot verify the reports.
The family of the late artist Salvador Dali will in turn visit some members of the family residing in the al-Atiqa (old) town. Moreover, many star athletes and actors will spend this time of the year in their own houses in this city, like for instance the French and Moroccan comedy actor Jamel Debbouze.
World Football starts are also expected in the city; these include FC Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavier Fernandes and French football star Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and his former colleague in the same team Lassana Diara.
Some of the stars chose to visit the city in the strictest confidentiality via private jets, because they want to spend time in an intimate atmosphere away from the paparazzi’s cameras.
The former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who grew up in the city of Agadir, has arrived with his new Moroccan companion, Maryam al-Ofir to al-Nakhil City to spend the end of the year holidays. Many eminent figures from the Levant arrived to Morocco too.
At the local level, the representative of the diplomatic corps in Morocco heads to Marrakesh to celebrate the New Year, and on top of them is Britain’s ambassador in Rabat, which will be received in art Riad, owned his millionaire compatriot Richard Porson who also owns Virgil Airlines Company.
According to Al Arabiya sources, most of those who go to Marrakesh are keen on celebrating in private parties, with Moroccan-flavored dishes and music, especially with the folklore known as “Shaykhet”.
The New Year celebrations brought back the joy to this touristic city, and it relatively reduced the crisis that the country has witnessed during the year, in which the booking ratio has reached 46 percent.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, the responsible of the communication in the regional council of Marrakech, Latif Abu Risha, said that the number of tourists who visited the city from the beginning to the end of 2012 will reach 1.5 million tourists.