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Home »» Moroccan Of The Month

Rachid Lyazidi  [ May, 2004 ]
Rachid Lyazidi

Coming from one of the 3 principal families that fought the occupation of Morocco and brought Independence, Rachid Lyazidi grew up in this school of nationalism, and all along his life, he didn’t miss any opportunity to help his country of origin.


After graduating from the Sorbonne University in Paris, he integrated the Moroccan Administration and served for 13 years in the Ministry of Tourism.  During this time he conceived, wrote, and published all the tourism brochures of the Moroccan Tourist Office.  He directed the prestigious Folklore of Marrakesh and created the International Festival of Fez, Agadir, and Tetouan.


From 1974 to 1981 he was Director of Tourism in Spain, Portugal, and Germany, and he received the following awards:  an International Trophy for Tourism in Madrid and Honorary Citizen of the City of Granada.  He was the permanent Representative of Morocco at the World Tourist Organization during 3 years (WITIO).


During his free time he wrote a very successful book called “Les Provinces du Maroc” (10,000 sold).  His book has also been used at all the Moroccan hotel schools as a study book about Moroccan culture.  And another one about the Moroccan gastronomy (14,000 sold in U.S.A).


He went back to Morocco in 1982 and was Director of the Moroccan chain of hotels “Diafa” (15 hotels), and in 1984 he moved to Orlando Florida.


But, before leaving Rabat and Morocco, he conceived and opened one of the entertainment landmarks of Rabat called The Fifth Avenue.


In September 1984, he opened with his partner Rashid Choufani, the Marrakesh Restaurant in Walt Disney world.  The biggest challenge was not to offer a cuisine that had already triumphed in Europe, but to re-introduce to the American visitors the Moroccan culture which is so far away from the clichés unfortunately used by the Medias.  Among his other social activities, he organized and promoted 5 World Cup Soccer tournaments with the 8 countries represented in Epcot, Walt Disney World.  Morocco has been world champions twice.  Also he organized the Sister City alliance between Orlando and Marrakesh.  At these ceremonies were present Mayor Frederick.


Then emerged Tangierine Café in the Moroccan Pavilion, and most recently the craft shops. 


His biggest achievement and pride, is to have helped create a very young and dynamic Moroccan community in Orlando and the State of Florida.  He is sincerely happy and willing to help all new young entrepreneurs like the ones that have created the Moroccan Chamber of Commerce in Orlando or the group Wafin/Tingis and so many others.   With entrepreneurs like this, maybe it’s time to start working on the creation of the Association of Friendship between Morocco and the U.S.


We have just learned that he is starting a new business that fits perfectly with his personality, and his concerns for the protection of the environment.  His new company, Bioleaf Cleaning, is producing for the first time in the U.S., products that are all natural and eco-friendly.


Rachid and Zoubida, his wife and 30 year companion have 2 boys, 1 daughter and 1 granddaughter.


Salim has an MBA in Business and now works at Smith Barney as a Financial Adviser.


Nabyl graduated from N.Y.U. and is ready to start med school.


Yasmina (age 16) has so many artistic talents, and Mia, Salim’s daughter, is the first baby from the third generation of Moroccans who arrived in Florida for the opening of the Moroccan Pavilion in WDW in 1984.

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