Marriott International announced Monday that in 2014, it will open its first-ever hotel in Haiti in Port-au-Prince.
The announcement was made in Haiti during a ceremony with former President Bill Clinton, Marriott International president Arne Sorenson and other VIPs.
“This hotel is one more signal that Haiti is open for business,” Sorenson said in Marriott’s just-issued press release.
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Hotel developer Digicel will commence construction on the 173-room, $45 million hotel next year, with an opening date expected in 2014.
The hotel will rise in the capital’s Haute Turgeau area.
Marriott expects the full-service Port-au-Prince Marriott Hotel will thrive as Haiti rebuilds from the tragic 2010 earthquake.
Currently, Port-au-Prince has only about 500 hotel rooms, and none of the hotels have meeting space for the non-government organizations, relief agencies and other groups working to rebuild the capital.
Under the management agreement, Marriott pledged to invest in hospitality training that should benefit Haiti’s tourism sector.
Marriott credits Clinton with helping to push the project along and encourage hotel developer Digicel, the hotel developer, to work with Marriott. From the release:
“This new hotel project will stand as a symbol of Haiti’s recovery, providing much needed jobs to the Haitian people and encouraging foreigners to visit, invest and work in Port-au-Prince,” said President Clinton. “My Foundation has worked with both Marriott and Digicel, and encouraged them to form this partnership. Their investment proves that Haiti is open for business and on the path to economic recovery.”
Digicel is the single largest private investor in Haiti and the country’s largest telecommunications provider, the release says.
The Miami Herald attended the investor conference in Haiti where Marriott made its announcement. In its report, the Herald quotes Sorenson as saying that the earthquake “opened our eyes” to Haiti.
“We are not here saying we are doing this because of good social work. That is obviously an extra special feature because of where Haiti is at. It needs to continue to develop, stabilize after the earthquake, continue to bring in foreign direct investment and have commerce, and tell people it’s a safe place to invest. Our being involved helps all of those things.”