Reduced Delta Flight Schedule Not Expected To Impact Haiti Tourism Growth
PHOTO: Overlooking Port au Prince Haiti from the Observatoire restaurant in Pétionville. (Photo by Brian Major)
Haiti’s strong tourism growth, which is marked by expanded airline service from major carriers, has hit some turbulence. Delta Airlines this week announced it will end its daily service from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport to Port-au-Prince after April 25.
Delta will continue to provide daily service to Haiti through its Atlanta hub. “Although Delta remains committed to Haiti, due to a decreased demand, we’ve decided to reduce the number of flights going to Port-au-Prince,” a Delta spokesperson told the Haitian Times website Monday.
Ironically, increased airline access to Haiti may be responsible for Delta’s cancellation of its direct flights from JFK. JetBlue Airways currently serves Port-au-Prince, Haiti with daily non-stop service from New York’s JFK and twice-daily service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
JetBlue also recently announced the launch of service from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Port au Prince beginning June 17. The seasonal flights will operate through Sept. 5, 2015.
Commenters told the Haitian Times that Delta’s withdrawal of flights will not impact regular travelers to New York, noting that JetBlue’s departures from Port au Prince arrive in New York earlier in the day compared with the Delta flights. The US-Haiti flight market has grown by more than 40 percent since 2005, according to Capstats data cited in the Haitian Times article.
Delta’s reduced schedule is not expected to impact Haiti’s recent tourist arrival gains. The country’s 1,127,577 visitors in 2014 represent a 10.8 percent increase compared with 2013. Recent initiatives launched by the country’s Ministry of Tourism include “tourist accommodation” and national transportation projects plus 2,180 hotel rooms built or currently under construction.
Large-scale developments designed to “[improve] existing sites and tourist infrastructure,” are also underway in Haitian districts including Ile-à-Vache, Côtes-de-Fer, Jacmel, Ile de la Tortue, Cap-Haïtien and Côte des Arcadins.
Haiti tourism officials are also encouraging celebrity visits to the country; last month Miami Heat stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and their families visited Haiti during its three-day national carnival.
Meanwhile JetBlue officials have undertaken community involvement projects in Haiti including the planting of 83,000 trees to re-forest the country’s north and northwest areas following the 2010 earthquake.
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