Haiti Bills Itself As The Next Caribbean Vacation Hotspot

January 31, 2013
By `

by Reena Ganga on Jan 30th 2013 at 5:00PM

The Caribbean nation of Haiti is launching an ambitious campaign to market the country as a vacation hotspot. Unlike other islands in the region, which draw huge numbers of leisure travelers seeking sun and surf, Haiti is largely overlooked by tourists.

The country is one of the poorest in the Western hemisphere with around 80 percent of its people living in extreme poverty. It was thrown under the spotlight three years ago when an earthquake measuring 7.0 shook the country to its core. The event was a devastating blow to a country already rife with political problems, corruption and natural disasters.

Haiti’s minister of tourism, Stephanie Villedrouin, told NPR that tourism could help locals rebuild their lives and boost the country’s economy.”These revenues for our economy will help us eradicate poverty, and take out people [earthquake victims] from the tents. That’s the message. Don’t just send money through a wire or through an NGO for us. Come and experience Haiti because we have so much to showcase.”

Some of the attraction on offer for visitors are a National Museum, a rum distillery, traditional art, voodoo ceremonies and, of course, miles of Caribbean beach.

Despite that, the country faces a lot of challenges when it comes to marketing itself as a vacation destination. Streets are overflowing with trash and sewage, medical facilities are few and far between, and travelers face a high risk of crime. The US State Department has even issued a travel warning for the country.

As a result, few tourists to Haiti ever leave the fenced-off beach resort built by a cruise company on the island’s north. Getting travelers to step out of the bubble and into the rest of the country will require a massive expansion of the country’s tourism infrastructure. The government hopes to do that by investing in new hotels, airports and a school to train workers in the hospitality industry.

One Response to “ Haiti Bills Itself As The Next Caribbean Vacation Hotspot ”

  1. reo thompson on February 2, 2013 at

    my supervisor and good freind invited me to go to Haiti with him to visit his family that he have not seen in 30 years,when we got to the airport in Haiti a bunch of guys forcably took our luggage outside and demanded us to give them 50 dollars US-they were making a big sceene outside,we were afraid of all the attention so we just gave the money.We ask for taxi to take us to a airport nearby to take another plane to go to a place call cape haitian.Before we got in the cab we ask whats the price and the cab driver said 400 goud to take us to nearby airport, when we got their he asked us for 400 US dollars.we refused to pay this rediculus amount and ask for a police or airport security to help-they said we would have to work it out with the guy or be taken to jail and held until monday morning to see a judge.after 45 minutes of negociating we finally had to give the guy 100 dollars US for a five minutes ride,their is no place on this planet that you pay 100 US for a five minute cab ride.We ended up missing our flight to cape haitian and decided to rent a car and drive their.We got a free ride to the rental car company and rented a car and was of to cape haitian,I taught that nothing else could happen,boy was I wrong.while in route we were stop at a police check point in a town called saint mark because one our light bulb was out,we did not have tools to fix it and was told that we could not continue on our trip with one headlight,I agreed with officer and ask to borrow a screwdriver to removed in fix light bulb. he did not have one but called a guy on the phone that came with screwdriver to fix problem.THe guy took 45 minutes to screw of 3 screws and push wire in place that came loose,then he demanded 6000 goud for his service-we again refused to pay this amount and told by the police that if we do not work out problem with his friend he would hold vehicle until monday morning to see jugde.We gave the guy 4000 goud,after that we were on our way.My vacation to Haiti was probably the worse of experience that I have had my whole life.No law -No justice-Everone just trying to take your money–if your planning a trip there,big mistake