Haiti aims for tourism transformation as earthquake recovery continues
Two luxury hotel properties are set to open in the next two years
New York Daily News April 9, 2012
More than two years after the devastating earthquake which destroyed much of Haiti in January 2010, things are finally looking up for the Caribbean island’s tourism industry.
This year has seen a flurry of headlines and activity in the stricken country, which saw half of its capital’s hotels and most of the infrastructure wiped out in the earthquake.
Now, something of a construction boom is underway in Port-au-Prince, with a new Occidental luxury hotel complete with rooftop infinity pool set to open this summer and the island’s first international property, the Marriott, likely to launch in 2014.
The Red Cross is also reported to be weighing the benefits of building a hotel close to the airport, similar to The Red Court Hotel, a four-star hotel in Kenya owned by the Kenya Red Cross Society.
In February, officials confirmed that they were in discussions to bring Port-au-Prince’s first cruise ship in 25 years to the city in 2013, transporting ‘Cruise with a Cause’ volunteer vacations to help rebuild the capital.
The Port-au-Prince International Airport, which was largely destroyed, is being rebuilt at a costs of millions, as is the Cap-Haitien International Airport ahead of an opening next year.
Reports suggest that some of the funding for these projects will be raised with the implementation of a ‘tourist card’, which will be mandatory for all non-Haitian-visitors — tax levied on flights may also rise.
That will make visiting more expensive for tourists, but as Haiti attempts the transition from disaster zone to tourist paradise, authorities clearly believe it will be worthwhile.